Thursday, 14 November 2019

Ceisteanna (14)

Bríd Smith


14. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his role in selecting the chief procurement officer; if the CEO of the Office of Government Procurement will have a future role in the management of costs at the proposed new national children’s hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46802/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí ó Béal (7 píosaí cainte) (Ceist ar Public)

I want to ask the Minister about his role in selecting the chief procurement officer and if the CEO and the Office of Government Procurement will have a future role in the management of the costs at the proposed new national children's hospital. Can he make a statement on the matter?

In 2011, as part of its drive for greater value for money and increased efficiencies in public spending, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform commissioned a review, entitled A Capacity and Capability Review of the Central Procurement Function, to identify the actions required to realise substantial savings in public procurement in the short and medium term. It was published in 2012.

The Office of Government Procurement commenced operations in July 2014 and it is led by the chief procurement officer. He was appointed to the national paediatric hospital development board by the Minister for Health in 2013. He resigned from the board on 19 July 2019. On whether he will have a future role in the management of costs in the proposed new national children's hospital, the answer is that he will not as he has resigned from the board.

He will have no role in the future, but he certainly had a role in the past for which we will pay very dearly, such as the lack of a primary healthcare centre in Drimnagh and other capital expenditure projects over the next period. Will the Minister have a role in selecting his replacement on the board of the national children's hospital?

That is a decision made by the Minister for Health. As we have debated on many occasions, any decisions made in respect of Drimagh will, as we discussed earlier, be completely independent of what is happening with the national children's hospital. I have no doubt that if and when the primary care centre is delivered in Drimnagh, the Deputy will protest against it.

If the Government delivered it on time and soon, I would not protest against it. It is now November and we were promised that it would be built some time ago. An application has been submitted to extend planning permission. If that is granted, I would like an answer from the Minister and HSE as to when building will actually start. We need the primary healthcare centre, not the evasive non-answers I get in response to parliamentary questions and what I have heard today.

In response to an earlier question, Deputy Smith said she would not believe any answer that I gave. That is her view of an answer I have not given. I acknowledge her interest in this matter. The Minister of State, Deputy Catherine Byrne, is working very hard on this. Whatever challenges or issues face the primary care centre which the people in Drimnagh want and on which I will get an update, 90 primary care centres have already been delivered and more are due. We must acknowledge the difference they are making. It is good to hear that the Deputy wants a project like this delivered in her community because when it is delivered it will make a significant difference to those who will use it.

I did not say I would not accept an answer from the Minister. Rather, I said I did not believe he would answer my question and I would instead get some obfuscation instead of a "Yes" or "No" answer on whether the centre would be built. That is what I believe. We will see what the answer is when the Minister receives it. If I get an answer telling me that it will or will not be built, I will be delighted and will acknowledge that. However, if I get an answer which is the same type of obfuscation I have received up to now I will be vindicated in what I have said here today.

Question No. 15 replied to with Written Answers.