Thursday, 20 February 1958
Dáil Éireann Debate
Mr. MacEntee: In view of the continuing stringent financial position, it has not yet been possible to determine the extent to which new hospital building projects may be undertaken, nor am I at present in a position to indicate when I expect to be able to do so.
It will be appreciated that the extent to which any new hospital building projects can be undertaken must be related to the present and prospective resources available to the Hospitals Trust Fund, after its existing obligations in relation to the payment of the deficits of the voluntary hospitals, the charges in respect of the completion of building projects now in progress and other miscellaneous commitments have been met. In this connection, I am glad to be able to say that there are some indications of a very slight but discernible improvement in the outlook.
Mr. Casey: Is the Minister not aware that very many urgent and pressing hospital projects are being held up all over the country and, particularly, that the largest local authority hospital in Cork is in grave danger of losing its status as a teaching hospital because of the fact that the Board of Public Assistance is not  in a position to erect an adequate nurses' home?
Mr. MacEntee: I am not going to venture into the realms of prophecy. There is one thing certain. That is that no project will be begun under my auspices until I am satisfied that we have the money to finish it.
Mr. Norton: In order to relieve the serious difficulties to which Deputy Casey referred, would the Minister give sympathetic consideration to the question of switching to those hospitals the free gift of £250,000 which it is proposed to give to the master bakers?
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