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Hospital digger costing €1,000 a week

The excavator on standby at the culvert.
By Harry Walsh

IT is costing more than €1,000 per week, on average, for the digger that is on 24-hour stand-by at Letterkenny General Hospital (LGH) it has emerged.
The digger was put on site beside the culvert, adjacent to the new Emergency Department, in the immediate aftermath of the devastating flood last July which has already cost in excess of €30m.

Raising the issue at the April meeting of the Health Service Executive, Councillor Liam Blaney asked how much it was costing per week for the digger that is on 24-hour standby at LGH.
In reply, Mr Bill Maher, CEO, West North West Hospital Group, said that the bill stood at €28,000.
“The hire of the digger and associated staffing for the night of the flood, the subsequent clean up and standby facility to be beginning of March amounted to €28k,” he said.

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Speaking earlier today, Cllr Blaney said he was concerned that the digger contract had not been tendered until he raised the issue last month.
“I fully understand that a digger was needed on site on the evening of the floods, but to find that it was still there seven months later without a tender process being put in place is something I quite simply can’t understand. Okay, it may be small money in the overall scheme of things, but it all adds up. It will be interesting to see how much it costs now that it has finally been put out to tender,” he said.

Last week, planning permission was granted for a new storm drain network around Letterkenny General Hospital.
While the hospital has already settled insurance claims at €34 million they also have to satisfy the insurers that they have put in place measures to alleviate the possibility of flooding happening again at the Emergency Department.

The diversion of the stream and any future flood water away from the hospital buildings is expected to cost is excess of €600,000.
The state-of-the-art €22 million new Emergency Department at LGH re-opened last month.

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