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Scandal of New Children's Hospital Spending overrun - will Harris resign? Of course not


General Mayhem

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Jaysus lads but you’re very easily distracted.

Like, if you’re going to get an accountancy firm involved, would you not ask them to determine the range of tenders that are cost effective for the project?

Before the contract is signed, like.
 
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SPN

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There were a lot of geniuses who made millions during the building bubble, do you think more of them should be employed by the state to solve all spending problems? National broadband - surely Lowry has the expertise to sort that out?
Very few of them boys had decades of experience building all sorts of projects, small and large, for everyone from Local Government, National Government and Multinationals.
 

SPN

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SPN

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I don't have any faith in any Irish politician, that being said removing Harris from his position would achieve nothing, in fact it might make things worse. I think we all know that there will be an even bigger overspend, my concern is that when they have to trim money from the budget it will be the actual practical services that are needed in the hospital whose spending will be hit. The best course of action is to get the hospital built and not use it as a political toy to point score. The next election will see FG/FG getting well and truly spanked by the electorate.
Harris and Murphy will be backbenchers by September.

But that doesn't take away from the fact that the problems they both have are caused by the Civil Servants.

It doesn't matter who we put in there, the Minister is only a figurehead.
 

SPN

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He went bust owing 30 million to the banks and VAT to the taxman.
He went bust because the banks stopped lending.

People who were signed up to buy properties as he completed them could no longer obtain finance.

It's called cash flow.

Without it you go bust.


Tom Costello was the chair who stepped down. This was his bio:

Are you suggesting that Wallace was a better candidate than Costello?

And this is what the report said:


How would Mick Wallace have helped that situation?
He would have provided the "effective oversight, performance management and instruction" that the suits were unable to provide.

Is Tom Costello able to read a drawing?

Is Tom Costello able to read a contract?

Or did he delegate those functions to the numpties who made such a balls of this here project?

The QS couldn't make up their mind whether 10km of copper piping was needed, or 11km.

It turned out 24km was needed.

Tom Costello didn't spot that.



Like everyone else, he was wise after the event. I didn't hear him offering his expertise before hand either. Sounds like he has other fish to fry now anyway, with the EU parliament (along with Clare Daly, won't that be nice for them?)
Ad hominem.
 

SPN

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This here is the boy we should be focusing on.

Mr Paul Quinn

Paul is the Government’s Chief Procurement Officer and is tasked with delivering procurement reform across the public service, supporting compliant and value for money procurement. Paul is also head of the Office of Government Procurement (OGP) which brings together public procurement policy, strategy, and operations. The OGP commenced operations in 2014 and has put in place 150 framework agreements for its public-sector clients. Paul holds an MBA, a Degree in Engineering and Diplomas in Company Direction and Accounting & Finance. He is a member of the Development Board for the New Children’s Hospital at St. James’ Hospital and chairs its finance committee.
 

Orbit v2

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He went bust because the banks stopped lending.

People who were signed up to buy properties as he completed them could no longer obtain finance.

It's called cash flow.

Without it you go bust.
I don't buy that. The banks were lending for mortgages long after the crash happened. They definitely weren't lending to developers though. So, the over stretched ones got burned.
He would have provided the "effective oversight, performance management and instruction" that the suits were unable to provide.
Is that what he says?
Is Tom Costello able to read a drawing?

Is Tom Costello able to read a contract?
Of course he could. Contracts would have been his bread and butter, and he was a chartered engineer. There's no way that Wallace would have dealt with contracts of that kind of complexity for his developments.
Or did he delegate those functions to the numpties who made such a balls of this here project?

The QS couldn't make up their mind whether 10km of copper piping was needed, or 11km.

It turned out 24km was needed.

Tom Costello didn't spot that.
That's such a strange way of characterising what happened. The QS will only quantify what has been designed but the design was half-baked. That's the real problem.
Ad hominem.
I can't believe that Wallace (or his supporters) is playing this game. It's the easiest thing in the world to claim this wouldn't have happened if you were in charge. It's baloney. You seem to be very quick to blame the civil servants and I'm sure they deserve some of the blame. The angle I'd like to see studied is the political pressure that caused the whole thing to be rushed, leading to the half baked design, and prematurely committing to a contractor when so much design work was still needed. The impression I get is that the PWC report went easy on naming individuals, because if they went too hard on individuals, they might have spilled the beans on the other stakeholders, like politicians.
 

SPN

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I don't buy that. The banks were lending for mortgages long after the crash happened. They definitely weren't lending to developers though. So, the over stretched ones got burned.
You can back this up by providing the number and value of mortgages drawn down for the years 2007-2017?



Is that what he says?
That's what I say.



Of course he could. Contracts would have been his bread and butter, and he was a chartered engineer.
He made a right horses bollox out of this one then, didn't he.



There's no way that Wallace would have dealt with contracts of that kind of complexity for his developments.
Wallace wasn't just a developer. He also ran big and small construction jobs all over the country. The complexity of the contract isn't relevant here, as the PWC report makes very clear.


That's such a strange way of characterising what happened. The QS will only quantify what has been designed but the design was half-baked. That's the real problem.
The problem wasn't spotted.

Half a Billion of a problem.

Where were the people who were being paid the big bucks to oversee the project whenever the project was running out of control.




I can't believe that Wallace (or his supporters) is playing this game. It's the easiest thing in the world to claim this wouldn't have happened if you were in charge. It's baloney.
Wallace and his supporters aren't playing any game.

They are commenting on the PWC report and sharing their insights.

Compare and contrast with yourself and others who are doing everything in their power to deflect from the real issues with these here straw men arguments.


You seem to be very quick to blame the civil servants and I'm sure they deserve some of the blame.
They are the executive.

They fcvked up.

They need to own it.



The angle I'd like to see studied is the political pressure that caused the whole thing to be rushed, leading to the half baked design, and prematurely committing to a contractor when so much design work was still needed.
The PWC report blows this line of whataboutery out of the water.

The problem occured at the executive level, not at the political level.

The political decision was made based on the information provided by the executive, and that information is in the public domain.

You clearly haven't read it.

The link is upthread.


The impression I get is that the PWC report went easy on naming individuals, because if they went too hard on individuals, they might have spilled the beans on the other stakeholders, like politicians.
The report didn't name names because the authors chose to believe that handing out P45s would lead to the loss of important corporate knowledge from the project.

Whenever the Civil Servants concerned get their "Kevin Cardiff/Noirin O'Sullivan" reward and ship off to more lucrative shores, nobody will be so concerned about loss of this here corporate knowledge.
 

Orbit v2

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You can back this up by providing the number and value of mortgages drawn down for the years 2007-2017?
I can back it up by having borrowed money (through a mortgage myself during that period) and being told by the bank that yes they were lending for mortgages. Demand for mortages dropped dramatically due to the price crash.
That's what I say.
Why did you put it in quotes then?
He made a right horses bollox out of this one then, didn't he.
Maybe he did. But, this isn't primarily about him, rather the laughable claim that Mick Wallace (who made a horse's bollox out of his own business) would not have made the same mistakes. The best you can say is nobody knows whether he would have. You seem to be characterising the project as a piece of piss that any experienced developer could have taken on, when it's obvious to anyone that that's not the case. It's the single most complex civil engineering project in the state ever.
Wallace wasn't just a developer. He also ran big and small construction jobs all over the country. The complexity of the contract isn't relevant here, as the PWC report makes very clear.
I meant complexity in terms of the scale of the project and the difficulty in estimating the quantities/costs.

The problem wasn't spotted.

Half a Billion of a problem.

Where were the people who were being paid the big bucks to oversee the project whenever the project was running out of control.






Wallace and his supporters aren't playing any game.

They are commenting on the PWC report and sharing their insights.
Saying - "Oh I could have done that" probably plays well with voters who haven't much of a clue, though deep down you know when people conclude "all politicians are the same" they really know he wouldn't have been any better.
Compare and contrast with yourself and others who are doing everything in their power to deflect from the real issues with these here straw men arguments.

They are the executive.

They fcvked up.

They need to own it.

The PWC report blows this line of whataboutery out of the water.

The problem occured at the executive level, not at the political level.

The political decision was made based on the information provided by the executive, and that information is in the public domain.
You seem to have a particular animosity towards civil servants which has come out on several issues. I've no axe to grind with anyone and happen to think that the blame is probably more widely spread than you do. Your excuses for politicians reminds me of Bertie's "Nobody told me about the banks" excuse. It was his fault for employing an incompetent time-server, and for creating a climate where the banks felt they could ride rough-shod over the regulator. It was politicians who were responsible for the governance structure with this project and for the fact that the state's representative on the board wasn't able to warn in time about the cost overrun.

I am also convinced (until I see evidence otherwise) that the fundamental problem with the project is that it was rushed. The design was half baked. They chose a contractor on the basis of a half baked design and then got screwed by the resulting non-competitive costing of the overrun. The initial tender was only 10% over budget. So, the question then is why was it rushed? You are saying that there was no political pressure to get the project going. I'm saying I find that very hard to believe.
The report didn't name names because the authors chose to believe that handing out P45s would lead to the loss of important corporate knowledge from the project.
Perhaps that is the case. As I said, it was a question I raised not a statement.
 

Lumpy Talbot

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No
It is the 'event' though that is the question. Take a look back at the ludicrous cost estimates which cannot in any way have matched up to the QS requirements for such a project and you have to ask some questions about what was included in those early quotes.

It smells of fish, quite frankly. Just imagine for a second if Varadkar had called a snap election back last autumn and was able with Harris to make campaigning hay out of the NCH, with the news that we've had this year then following the election. It would look awfully like a false accounting exercise for political gain.
 

wombat

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I'm afraid that the only one defending Wallace as an exceptionally competant developer is wasting their time. The developer model where the first project was used as security to finance the second was a high risk version of musical chairs for which we all paid. BTW any company director who knowingly witholds PRSI is now held personally liable.
 

ruman

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I don't have any faith in any Irish politician, that being said removing Harris from his position would achieve nothing, in fact it might make things worse. I think we all know that there will be an even bigger overspend, my concern is that when they have to trim money from the budget it will be the actual practical services that are needed in the hospital whose spending will be hit. The best course of action is to get the hospital built and not use it as a political toy to point score. The next election will see FG/FG getting well and truly spanked by the electorate.
Seriously FFG arent going to get spanked at all. One will be leading the next govt and they will be the 2 biggest parties sadly

I may not like that personally but i live in the real world.
 

ruman

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I never blame a dog for barking and politicians will attack their opponents when given the opportunity. I remember Barry Desmond attacking Knock Airport when it was planned. He represented Dun Laoghaire so it was quite popular to say it should be cancelled. No politician has said the hospital should be cancelled or even postponed so it can be moved. The sad fact is that we are stuck with the current proposal and no amount of anger or indignation will change that.

Well we're not stuck. It could probably be still built cheaper and quicker on a greenfield site. We would know for certain if this had been looked at as part of the review but govt decided to p*ss away 600k on a report that told us nothing new instead.

Most expensive 2nd rate hospital in the world
 

SPN

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I can back it up by having borrowed money (through a mortgage myself during that period) and being told by the bank that yes they were lending for mortgages.
Have you lost all sense of reason?

The global banking system crashed into a wall at full speed. The banks had to stop lending. The losses they were shipping meant that they did not have the required capital ratios to engage in new lending. The Irish banks could only keep their doors open because the ECB provided them with liquidity supported by tens of billions of new capital put in by the State.


Demand for mortages dropped dramatically due to the price crash.
Prices crashed because the banks were not issuing mortgages.

Talk about getting things ass backwards.

The only people buying for the first couple of years were cash buyers.



Why did you put it in quotes then?
It is a quote from the PWC report that you clearly haven't bothered to read.



Maybe he did.
Maybe he did?

Seriously?

He very definitely did.



I meant complexity in terms of the scale of the project and the difficulty in estimating the quantities/costs.
You are running around in circles now.

Tom Costello was appointed to oversee a project.

The project turned into a complete disaster. The pricing estimates were completely off the wall.

That is down to the people who were paid big money to make sure the job was done properly.




Saying - "Oh I could have done that" probably plays well with voters who haven't much of a clue, though deep down you know when people conclude "all politicians are the same" they really know he wouldn't have been any better.
I never said "Oh, I could have done that".



You seem to have a particular animosity towards civil servants which has come out on several issues.
Because I point out the elephant in the room you pretend I have some animosity.

Cop yourself on lad.


Your excuses for politicians reminds me of Bertie's "Nobody told me about the banks" excuse.
I am making no excuses for any politicians.

I am pointing out that the problems identified in the PWC report were all down to the executive.

The politicians had no role other than taking decisions based on the information provided by the executive.



It was politicians who were responsible for the governance structure with this project and for the fact that the state's representative on the board wasn't able to warn in time about the cost overrun.
Are you on drugs?

Do you have any clue about the roles of the Minister vis-a-vis the roles of the executive?

The Minister appointed the Board, based on the recommendations of the executive(s).

Everything the Minister does is based on the advice/recommendations of the executive.

The only thing you can hang on a Minister is policy mistakes.

As the PWC report clearly sets out, this was a fcvk up by the executive, not a policy fcvk up.


I am also convinced (until I see evidence otherwise) that the fundamental problem with the project is that it was rushed. The design was half baked. They chose a contractor on the basis of a half baked design and then got screwed by the resulting non-competitive costing of the overrun. The initial tender was only 10% over budget. So, the question then is why was it rushed? You are saying that there was no political pressure to get the project going. I'm saying I find that very hard to believe.

Perhaps that is the case. As I said, it was a question I raised not a statement.
Read the report and stop making a tit of yourself.[/quote]
 

General Mayhem

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Agree with you, up to a point, SPN.

A few questions arising from the report -

Who was leading the Design Team?
Who was the Employers Represntative?
In cases of conflict, which measure took precedence - 2D drawings or 3D model? Why?
How many times were issues adjudicated on by the Independent Expert?

and

How much is too much?
 

SPN

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Agree with you, up to a point, SPN.

A few questions arising from the report -

Who was leading the Design Team?
Who was the Employers Represntative?
In cases of conflict, which measure took precedence - 2D drawings or 3D model? Why?
How many times were issues adjudicated on by the Independent Expert?

and

How much is too much?
All very good questions.

The only one I would comment on is the third one - and that is to say, how come both the 2D and 3D models were so dramatically wrong.

That should have raised a massive red flag, and someone's PI should be getting hit very hard right about now.
 

General Mayhem

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All very good questions.

The only one I would comment on is the third one - and that is to say, how come both the 2D and 3D models were so dramatically wrong.

That should have raised a massive red flag, and someone's PI should be getting hit very hard right about now.
The 2d drawings come from the 3D model, makes no sense to run two separate design systems in parallel.

Unclear why there would be any conflict, if all parties are contracted to use the 3D model.

If contracted to use 3D model then why would measures from 2d model take precedence.
 
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Orbit v2

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Tom Costello was appointed to oversee a project.

The project turned into a complete disaster. The pricing estimates were completely off the wall.
You seem to think that this was simply getting the pricing wrong. The problem was that the design was incomplete. You are completely missing the big picture.
That is down to the people who were paid big money to make sure the job was done properly.

I never said "Oh, I could have done that".
Well, you must be Mick Wallace then, because that's who we are arguing about. Because he's built a few houses and apartments you (alone) think he was obviously suited to running this project, on the flimsiest of evidence.
Because I point out the elephant in the room you pretend I have some animosity.

Cop yourself on lad.
That the project executive made major mistakes is hardly the elephant in the room, since that is what the PWC report writes about. The elephant in the room is what's not in the report, ie the political aspect.
I am making no excuses for any politicians.
Yes, you are. You are using the Bertie excuse, that all they had to do was set up the project and then turn up on opening day with it done on time and in budget. Complex projects like this rarely go exactly to plan. Bertie's excuse was "nobody told me the banks were in trouble". If this attitude is common in the Green Party, I wouldn't touch them with a barge pole.
I am pointing out that the problems identified in the PWC report were all down to the executive.

The politicians had no role other than taking decisions based on the information provided by the executive.





Are you on drugs?

Do you have any clue about the roles of the Minister vis-a-vis the roles of the executive?

The Minister appointed the Board, based on the recommendations of the executive(s).

Everything the Minister does is based on the advice/recommendations of the executive.

The only thing you can hang on a Minister is policy mistakes.
Exactly. Policy mistakes ie the governance structure that disallowed the government's representative on the board from flagging the overrun sooner.
As the PWC report clearly sets out, this was a fcvk up by the executive, not a policy fcvk up.
They never investigated why the project was put to tender with a half-baked design, so it's obvious then that the answer isn't going to be in the report.


Read the report and stop making a tit of yourself.
I have read it. Where does the report say that politicans are blameless? The question is simply not addressed.
 

SPN

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You seem to think that this was simply getting the pricing wrong. The problem was that the design was incomplete. You are completely missing the big picture.
Nope.


Well, you must be Mick Wallace then, because that's who we are arguing about. Because he's built a few houses and apartments you (alone) think he was obviously suited to running this project, on the flimsiest of evidence.
Nope.



That the project executive made major mistakes is hardly the elephant in the room, since that is what the PWC report writes about. The elephant in the room is what's not in the report, ie the political aspect.
What political aspect?



Yes, you are. You are using the Bertie excuse, that all they had to do was set up the project and then turn up on opening day with it done on time and in budget. Complex projects like this rarely go exactly to plan. Bertie's excuse was "nobody told me the banks were in trouble". If this attitude is common in the Green Party, I wouldn't touch them with a barge pole.
Nope.



Exactly. Policy mistakes ie the governance structure that disallowed the government's representative on the board from flagging the overrun sooner.
The politicians didn't design the governance structure.

The Civil Servants did.


They never investigated why the project was put to tender with a half-baked design, so it's obvious then that the answer isn't going to be in the report.
The timing of going to tender would have been decided by the Civil Servants, not by the politicians.



I have read it. Where does the report say that politicans are blameless? The question is simply not addressed.
That's like saying : Where does the report say that the Catholic Church is blameless? The question is simply not addressed.

The report details clearly where the failures were.

There is nothing in the report that even hints that there might have been failures at policy level.

All the failures are at executive level, under the direct control of the Secretaries General in Health and DPER who were clearly asleep at the wheel.
 

Orbit v2

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You've got your head in the sand. Otherwise, please explain why the project executive decided to put the project to tender when the design was nowhere near complete? Why would they do that? Why also would the government not have a review process in place at particular milestones of the project, such as the point when it went out to tender? Proper oversight would demand this.
 
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