Judge seeks mediation in row over building of children’s hospital

Residents close to St James’s site in Dublin claim homes being damaged by works

A High Court judge has urged parties involved in a row over damage allegedly caused to houses near the site of the new National Children's Hospital in Dublin to consider going to mediation.

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan made the comments after proceedings taken by several residents from the O'Reilly Avenue, Ceannt Fort and Mount Brown areas against the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board and BAM Civil Limited, the firm which is building the hospital, came before the court.

The residents, who live close to St James’s Hospital in Dublin where the new children’s hospital is being constructed, claim their homes have been damaged as a result of certain works being carried out by the defendants.

They are seeking orders, including an injunction, preventing works being done on the site until steps are taken to remediate and protect houses adjoining the construction site from sustaining further damage.


Shane Murphy SC, for Bam, on Wednesday told the court that if an injunction was granted it could potentially result in the cessation of all construction works on the site of the new hospital.

Jarlath Fitzsimons SC, for the development board, said his side was prepared to mediate the dispute rather than fight the injunction application before the court.


John Rogers SC, for the residents, denied his clients were seeking orders that would stop all works on the site. His clients do not want the children’s hospital project held up. What they were seeking were steps by the defendants to protect his client’s properties from sustaining any further damage.

There was clear evidence that his clients properties had already suffered “very significant damage” caused by the construction work already done on the site.

Counsel added that his clients welcomed any offer to mediate in the dispute. However, the difficultly was that the defendants wished to continue with works close to the properties before carrying out the remedial works the residents’ engineering expert says are necessary to protect the properties.

In the circumstances, counsel said his clients wanted to proceed with their application for an injunction.


Mr Justice Gilligan adjourned the matter to Friday morning, and told the sides that a judge would be made available to hear the application.

He said while he was not expressing a view on the application, the National Children’s Hospital was one of the biggest projects ever undertaken in the city of Dublin.

The judge said he had sympathy for anyone whose homes have been damaged, and the “difficult position” the residents found themselves in. However, the granting of an injunction in this case would have “very serious repercussions”.

He asked that the defendants’ offer of mediating the dispute be considered by the residents in advance of Friday’s hearing.