Faults with St James’s site for children’s hospital admitted

Oral hearing opens into €650m plans to build national children’s hospital in Dublin

An aerial view of the site for the new National Children’s Hospital at the St James’s Hospital campus in Dublin.

An aerial view of the site for the new National Children’s Hospital at the St James’s Hospital campus in Dublin.

 

The proposal to build the new national children’s hospital at St James’s Hospital contains faults, the board developing the project admitted at the oral hearing into the project.

The St James’s site had “occasional demerits” as well as merits, Jarlath Fitzsimons SC, outlining the project, said, but An Bord Pleanala would have to strike a balance in considering the clear and obvious benefits of the project.

Monday is the first day of the oral hearing into plans to build the new national children’s hospital at St James’s.

The hearing into one the biggest infrastructural project in the history of the State was convened by the board and is expected to last at least three weeks.

The application covers the proposed new children’s hospital, a research centre and children’s accommodation in St James, as well as two satellite centres at Tallaght hospital and Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown and a “compound” at Davitt Road in Drimnagh.

The scheme is opposed by a number of charities and groups who favour building the hospital on a greenfield site, preferably to the west of Dublin, and will hear from neighbours concerned about the impact of the proposed development on their community.

A decision from the board is expected by February; the hospital could be built and opened by 2020 if the project is approved.

Mr Fitzsimons SC, for the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board, said the new hospital would bring together the three existing hospitals in Dublin into a modern, custom-built building providing the best standards of care.

Existing provision was not suitable or sustainable, with duplication and triplications of services between the three hospitals in suboptimal facilities, he said.

The new hospital would result in better clinical outcomes and increased operating efficiencies as well as enhancing services for children, their families and staff.

He said the development has a dual function: to provide secondary paediatric services to children in the greater Dublin area and tertiary, or specialist, services for the entire country.