Construction of the new Children's Hospital has been delayed again and it may not open until 2024. 

The Public Accounts Committee also heard today that costs are spiralling although the development board would not reveal an exact figure as it is liaising with the Department of Health on costs and timelines. 

Covid-related shutdowns, along with various construction delays and disputes, have pushed back the project. 

Chief executive of the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board David Gunning told the committee that the project is now another ten months behind schedule. 

He said the board has submitted an updated report to the Department of Health and there will be a reset of timelines and costs once that is agreed. 

Hospital Development Board chief executive David Gunning

Mr Gunning said that in value terms, only 20% of the project has been completed. 

The hospital was previously expected to cost €1.4 billion to build with another €300 million for equipment and IT. 

Asked if the project would top €2 billion, Mr Gunning said he could not give guidance on that. 

700 contractor claims have been lodged amounting to €300m in associated costs. 

Mr Gunning said this was an inordinately high number of claims but he said they were being robustly defended.

Sinn Féin's Imelda Munster said there was no definitive timeframe for completion or costs. 

"All we know is of further delays, further claims and further high court cases and spiralling costs." 

She said the board made a "complete hames" of it and had been an "absolutely shambles". 

She said the project could become the "most expensive children's hospital in the world".