Objections to Mater hospital’s plan for pandemic treatment facility

An Taisce argues that the proposal ‘should be refused permission or significantly revised’

An Taisce is objecting to an €89 million plan by the Mater hospital in Dublin to construct a nine-storey extension that would be used to treat Covid-19 cases or those arising in “any future pandemic”.

The hospital has lodged plans to address what it calls “the ongoing emergency” through the development of the 98-bed facility.

Planning consultants for the Mater say the hospital has experienced intense pressures during waves of the pandemic this year and last year. “This has caused considerable dislocation of hospital services, with treatment and medical procedures postponed for unacceptably long periods on occasion,” they said.

A spokeswoman for the hospital said the facilities would “significantly contribute to the State’s response to this or any future pandemic”, and that it was hoped the first beds would be open by the middle of next year.


She said the emergency wing would “greatly enhance” the hospital’s intensive care capacity, and provide “specialist isolation rooms for the care of highly-infectious patients”.

In a submission lodged with Dublin City Council, An Taisce’s Dublin city planning officer Kevin Duff argues that the proposed development “should be refused permission or significantly revised in its design and scale”.

He said “there are heritage constraints at this location within one of Georgian Dublin’s primary streetscapes/vistas which are too great and which make it fundamentally unsuitable for the development as currently proposed”.

“In the interests of democracy every project, including health infrastructure, should be subject to planning consideration, including the public making its views known,” he said.

“The population has been largely vaccinated against Covid so this Mater extension is clearly a longer term building so it’s not what the legislation was for.”

The Irish Georgian Society said it had “considerable reservations about the application” as the overbearing scale of the development would dominate Eccles Street.

The Mater commenced work on the project under emergency legislation without the need to seek planning permission and construction continues.*

A decision is due on the application later this month.

*This article was amended on October 6th, 2021

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times