The chairman of the National Children's Hospital development board has stepped down following the controversy over the spiralling costs of the project. 

During the week, the Public Accounts Committee heard that the cost of the new hospital could exceed €2bn.

Tom Costello, who was appointed to the role in 2013, said he was stepping down because he was concerned about the "reputational damage that the ongoing commentary about the increased cost of the hospital is having on this critically important project".

He said his resignation would help ensure that focus is restored on delivering the project.

Mr Costello tendered his resignation to the Minister for Health this morning.

In a statement, he said he has acted with professionalism and integrity in all his dealings with project stakeholders since he was appointed chairman of the board almost six years ago.

He paid tribute to the members of the board who, he said, have been asked to make extremely difficult decisions but who have done so in order to ensure that the hospital is built.

In a statement, Minister for Health Simon Harris said that he accepted Mr Costello's resignation.

The minister thanked Mr Costello for what he described as tireless work and his exceptional commitment to the project, saying that his decision to step down is motivated by this same overriding commitment.

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Meanwhile, Sinn Féin has called for more accountability from the minister in relation to the costs of the hospital.

Party health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly said: "This project has overrun and we are now looking at a potential cost in excess of €2bn.

"In 2015 the estimated cost was €630m, we need to know how we got to the stage now where the projected cost is three times the original estimate."