Colleges back site at Connolly for hospital
THE HEADS of Dublin City University, NUI Maynooth and the Royal College of Surgeons have formally given their support to Connolly hospital in Blanchardstown as the site of a new national children’s hospital.
With a Government decision on the project imminent, the three third-level colleges say that only the Connolly site offers a unique opportunity to develop a world-class medical innovation and research hub in Dublin.
Minister for Health James Reilly said a fortnight ago that he would be bringing proposals for the development of the new hospital to the Taoiseach and Tánaiste within 10 days. However, senior Government sources said last night that no such meeting had yet been scheduled and it now appeared unlikely that the issue would come before the Cabinet for decision next Tuesday.
With the choice of location expected to be made from a shortlist including Connolly, the Mater and St James’s Hospital, last-minute lobbying of the Government by the various interests is continuing.
In their statement DCU, NUI Maynooth and the RCSI said the Connolly site was adjacent to the M50 and N7 and had excellent road, rail and airport links.
They said with 350 acres available for development there was ample scope for future expansion and for the development of a major medical research and technology hub.
“This type of development will be supported by the existing co-location of IT and pharma companies in the area, such as Hewlett Packard, IBM, Intel, Wyeth and Bristol Meyers Squibb,” said Prof Cathal Kelly, chief executive of RCSI, Prof Philip Nolan, president of NUI Maynooth, and Prof Brian McCraith, president of DCU.
This week a former medical director of Great Ormond Street children’s hospital in London warned the Government against siting the national children’s hospital in a greenfield location.
Prof Ian Hann said the proposed new hospital would not be able to deliver the best outcomes for children at a greenfield site or any location without the necessary range of back-up facilities.
The letter from Prof Hann was also signed by Barnardos chief executive Fergus Finlay, former Trinity College provost Tom Mitchell, former chancellor of the University of Limerick Miriam Hederman O’Brien and Children in Hospital Ireland chief executive Mary O’Connor.
The authors said they were not attached to any health provider but were informed about the issues.
Only the Mater hospital and St James’s Hospital bids would fulfil the conditions in the letter.