Children’s Hospital insists works on 11 operating theatres ‘minor’ and will not delay opening

Main contractor BAM told last month to stop works in theatres as remediation works could be needed in ceilings

The board of the Children’s Hospital has insisted that any works related to rectify issues in 11 operating theatres at the facility will be “minor” and has told the main contractor at the project to continue works at the theatres.

It comes after it emerged main contractor BAM was told last month to stop works in the theatres as remediation works could be needed in their ceilings.

The National Paediatric Hospital Development Board has today admitted that it first became aware of the issue in May of last year – but said that addressing it will be minor and involve the movement of four ceiling grilles.

This stands in stark contrast to claims by Sinn Féin’s health spokesman David Cullinane, who has cited a source close to the project as suggesting the issue could cost tens of millions of euros and take many months to address.


On Monday night, the NPHDB said the main contractor, BAM, had been instructed to engage with the design team to review the impact of the issue, which is thought to relate to the air ventilation system in the ceilings of the operating theatres. The Irish Times has asked the board if that process has now finished, and if it has concluded that the works will be minor. BAM has been asked if it shares the assessment of the NPHDB.

In its statement on Tuesday morning, the NPHDB said: “There has been no material change to the design on the new children’s hospital. The potential works in the 11 operating theatres are minor works – they are not on the critical path.”

“The NPHDB has been aware of the potential issue since May 2022. It is being addressed in a timely and appropriate manner. The change, if instructed to BAM, will involve the movement of four ceiling grilles in each of the 11 theatres. This will not cost ‘tens of millions of Euro’, as is being claimed, and is not expected to have an impact on the completion date of the hospital.”

BAM has been instructed to continue works in accordance with the current design – and this potential issue with be addressed at the appropriate time.

Minister Stephen Donnelly told RTÉ News that Sinn Féin should disclose its source. “I don’t know who it is. We don’t know who it is. We don’t want a situation, and this may not be the case, but we don’t want a situation whereby the contractor is feeding information to Sinn Féin who is then maybe inadvertently acting in a way as to undermine the position of the State,” he said.

“It would be very useful if Sinn Féin could clarify, not any individuals obviously, but if the source they keep referencing is in fact the contractor.”

He said the contractor had committed to handing the hospital over to Children’s Health Ireland and to the State in March of next year and he expected BAM to meet that obligation.

Speaking to reporters in Dublin on Tuesday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he is satisfied with the work NPHDB is doing as a board running the project and added that he expects the first patients to be treated in the hospital at some stage in 2024.

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times