Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that while the overrun at the new national children's hospital was not a good thing, there was plenty of money for other capital projects.

Speaking at the launch of the Health Service Executive capital plan, Mr Varadkar said there had been scare tactics by some politicians about the children’s hospital overrun and claims that were 'totally fake’ as regards how other projects would be impacted.

The funding for the new children’s hospital this year will be €230m, which is 1.3% of the budget for the year.

The Taoiseach said that investment in health was not throwing money into a black hole.

Minister for Health Simon Harris said the plan provides certainty for capital spending for the next three years and will deliver 250 projects.

Earlier, speaking on Today With Seán O'Rourke, Mr Harris said all of the projects promised, under Project Ireland 2040, are now secure.

He said some of the projects have already started and there were no projects delayed as a result of the increased cost of the National Children's Hospital.


"There's genuinely no delayed projects and the reason for that is quite simple. Paschal Donohoe made a decision in the Summer Economic Statement, which has allowed me to do this, where he set aside what he called a reserve, and that reserve is to meet the cost of the children's hospital and the cost of broadband. It allowed to me to give the HSE certainty over its funding for 2020," he added.

Minister Harris said the current budget overrun is €170 million (as of the end of May) and he is awaiting an updated figure.

On staffing, the minister said there is a real issue in relation to the recruitment and retention of consultants.

A large part of the funding announced will go towards already well-publicised projects including the new children's hospital at the St James's Hospital campus, developments at the National Rehabilitation Hospital, a new National Forensic Mental Health facility in Portrane in north Dublin and radiation oncology facilities in Cork, Galway and Dublin.

Opposition parties have criticised the late publication of the 2019 Capital Plan.

The Government is promising that over the next three years, there will be 480 new hospital beds, 30 new primary care centres and 58 community nursing units among other developments.

The Labour Party's health spokesperson described the capital plan as lacking in credibility and being a window dressing exercise.

Alan Kelly said that University Hospital Limerick was the most consistently overcrowded hospital in the country and people had been promised a permanent 96 bed block.

He said that the plan failed to mention this.

Mr Kelly also said that the capital projects referenced in the National Maternity Strategy seemed to be on the back burner until after the plan expires in 2021.

Louise O' Reilly, Sinn Féin's health spokesperson, said there was a worrying lack of detail in the Capital Plan.She said that many of the projects announced with the plan had already been announced, or were currently underway.