The terms of reference for a review of cost overruns on the new National Children's Hospital have been changed and can now hold individuals accountable.

Up to this point, the PWC probe could not make findings against the individuals overseeing the project.

Speaking to RTÉ's This Week programme, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the public is right to be angry about the escalating costs.

Mr Varadkar said it is possible the review could find that many of the rising costs were unavoidable but if they find others it might be possible to "pull back" on them.

The Taoiseach did not rule out individuals being held accountable but he added that no individual can be held accountable for things like construction inflation costs and VAT.

"We've looked at the terms of reference and the terms of reference will be revised to enable PWC to find individuals accountable or to identify who made particular mistakes if that's what they find."

When told that that was different to what was said during the week, the Taoiseach replied: "That's right, so having considered it and having talked about it with the Minister for Health we're making that revision to the terms of reference to enable the investigation to find individuals accountable if they're able to do that."

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil’s finance spokesperson Michael McGrath said there has been disasterous project management on the new hospital.

Speaking on RTÉ’s The Week In Politics, he said that a lot of questions need to be asked and the fundamental one is where was the political oversight.

Mr McGrath said that Minister for Health Simon Harris has questions to answer and is not in the clear.

Speaking on the same programme, Joan Collins of Independents4Change described the project as a "shambles". 

She said people are flabbergasted at the cost increases, and that someone has to be held accountable. She also said that the buck stops with the ministers and Fine Gael. 

Ms Collins said she thinks the project should be called to a halt.


 


Suggestions of technological solution to border issue 'frustrating'

On Brexit, the Taosieach described as "very frustrating", suggestions from senior British government figures that there was a technological solution to the Irish border, which would prevent a hard border after Brexit.

The Taoiseach was referring to comments made by the British Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who earlier said that finding an alternative arrangement to the backstop "can be done" with existing technology.

Speaking on RTÉ's This Week programme, the Taoiseach said: "That is very frustrating; that we're going back to this idea of technology.

"The European Commission and the task force examined all of that. They looked at every exterior border that the European Union has.

"They looked at other borders like Norway-Sweden, America-Canada... I've been to that border myself. Yes there is lots of technology but it's a hard border".

Asked whether the Irish Government would assist British Prime Minister Theresa May with her plans to attempt a renegotiation of the EU-UK withdrawal deal, the Taoiseach said that the Irish objective remained the same from day one.

"As from day one, to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, to protect the rights and freedoms of citizens north and south, and also to retain free and frictionless trade between Britain and Ireland," he said.

He added: "We need to have good relations with the United Kingdom.

"Of course we will listen to what the Prime Minister has to say and listen to the suggestions that she's put forward.

"But my concern is that when they talk about alternative arrangements, they're talking about revisiting things that have already been rejected. And that's not going to work".

He described his relations with Mrs May as "honest, frank and fair" and said that he told her in a phone call last week, that "the fact that the British Prime Minister and the British government resiled from an agreement they made with 28 other governments, demonstrates exactly why we need a backstop".