Board member backs Mater site over fear of further delays to work


CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL:A PROMINENT member of the board charged with developing the new national children’s hospital has backed the Mater hospital as the best location for the project.

Businesswoman and publisher Norah Casey said she was concerned that if it was decided to develop the new national paediatric hospital at another location the project would be delayed by at least a further year.

Speaking to reporters at the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation conference in Killarney yesterday, she said it was her job to see the facility constructed and she did not mind where the hospital was built.

However, she said at the moment “the Mater is the better site because I am worried about the constant delays”.

“I think if we move to another site it will take at least another year and for that reason my preference would be to go with the Mater site.” She said the old Mater hospital building had now been made available for the project and that this had allowed the proposed new children’s hospital to be reduced in height by a number of floors. She said this might assuage the concerns raised by An Bord Pleanála which rejected planning permission for the development several weeks ago.

A new review, commissioned by Minister for Health James Reilly, which is looking at the implications of the decision by An Bord Pleanála, is due to finalise its work on about May 24th.

At least 15 separate locations have now been suggested as the possible location for the new national children’s hospital.

Ms Casey said yesterday she believed the new children’s hospital should be co-located with an adult hospital and ideally with a maternity centre also.

A former nurse who trained in Scotland, Ms Casey addressed the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation on the second day of its conference yesterday. She said it was a tragedy that so many nurses, who were trained at great expense, were lost to the profession in Ireland. There always had been a bit of a brain drain in nursing and sometimes the best and the brightest got lost, emigrating to find work abroad or because their career aspirations were not being fulfilled in this country.

Ms Casey said it was a tragedy that so many great nurses were not retained in the profession here but that there were “enough good ones to keep us going”.