Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald has defended the Government's decision to locate the new national children's hospital at St James's Hospital.
She was responding to a report in today's Irish Times [MON]that An Taisce had called on the Government to move the site from St James's to land beside the Coombe Hospital nearby.
An Taisce had written to Taoiseach Enda Kenny saying the apparent failure to co-locate the hospital with a maternity hospital, as recommended in a number of expert reports, "sends alarm bells ringing".
Ms Fitzgerald said the Government had taken “the very best decisions” in relation to the location for the children’s hospital. “We are committed to it. The money has been put aside and we are moving ahead with it,” she said.
She denied that the failure to locate the new hospital on the site of a maternity hospital was an oversight. “Obviously all these factors were considered and the very best decision was taken about the location of the children’s hospital. What’s important now is to get on with all of the issues to make sure that it’s delivered on target and that’s the Government’s intention.”
The new hospital will bring together the three existing Dublin children’s hospitals at Crumlin, Tallaght and Temple Street. Eilish Hardiman started work as chief executive of the Children’s Hospital Group on Friday and work has started to decant existing activities on the site at the west end of St James’s in order to make way for the new building.