Reilly declines to say how much new hospital will cost
Minister for Health James Reilly has declined to say how much the new national children’s hospital to be built at St James’s Hospital will cost, citing commercial sensitivity.
Dr Reilly yesterday unveiled the long-awaited and much-leaked decision of the Government to award the project to St James’s, though he admitted there was a “moderate” risk the development could suffer the same fate as the Mater by failing to get planning permission.
St James’s has said it can build the project for €478 million but Dr Reilly said yesterday this estimate was “tight”. Some €200 million is earmarked for the hospital from the sale of the National Lottery and most of the remaining funds will come from the capital budget.
The decision received a broad welcome from Government and local TDs, while the Opposition urged that the project proceed as speedily as possible. Dr Reilly said it would be completed in 2018, two years after the Taoiseach promised it would be ready and four years after the original completion date.
He promised a new maternity hospital would eventually be built “in time” at St James’s alongside the planned children’s hospital.
However, Temple Street children’s hospital has called an emergency meeting of its board today to discuss “the lack of clarification” on a maternity hospital. The Mater and Rotunda hospitals also expressed extreme disappointment that the Government had not reselected the Mater after its failed planning application earlier this year.
“The process to select the Mater site was rigorous and evidenced-based and six years of planning have already gone into our site. We could have delivered a new children’s hospital by 2016 but yet the sick children of Ireland now have to wait another 2½ years beyond 2016 for what is their right today,” said Mater chairman John Morgan.
Some €26 million of the €39 million spent on the Mater site would not be recouped, Dr Reilly acknowledged.
The Government has told St James’s to provide more land for the children’s hospital so the overall height of the project will not exceed seven storeys.