Reilly says new national children’s hospital to be built by 2018

Minister says lessons have been learnt from past mistakes with project

 Minister for Health James Reilly with  Eilish Hardiman of the children’s hospital group. Photograph: Caroline Quinn/PA Wire

Minister for Health James Reilly with Eilish Hardiman of the children’s hospital group. Photograph: Caroline Quinn/PA Wire



The new national children’s hospital will be completed by 2018, Minister for Health James Reilly has said.

He said lessons had been learnt from the previous attempt to develop the facility on the campus of the Mater hospital in Dublin, which had ended in failure.

Dr Reilly said the Government was determined, in its current bid to develop it at St James’s Hospital, to ensure it was now built as speedily as possible.

He said the Government was absolutely committed to the project, which he described as critically important for children and for the country, and insisted that there would be “no funding shortfall”.

Dr Reilly was speaking at the announcement of the appointment of Eilish Hardiman as chief executive of the new children’s hospital group, which includes Our Lady’s Children’s hospital in Crumlin, the children’s hospital on Temple Street and the paediatric service at Tallaght hospital.

Chief executive

Ms Hardiman is currently chief executive of Tallaght hospital in Dublin. She was previously chief executive of the national paediatric hospital development board for 2½ years.

“The role of chief executive of the children’s hospital group is critically important in driving forward the integration of the three hospitals and the project as a whole,” Dr Reilly said.

He said when the new children’s hospital opened, it was vital that it operated as a “running hospital”; there should be no repeat of the problems encountered in the past when different hospitals were brought together and took a long time to bed down.

He said he wanted to ensure the new hospital opened “as a single entity and not as three hospitals coming together”.

Planning approval

Asked if he was confident the new hospital would receive planning approval, unlike the Mater proposal, the Minister said that, in addition to the overall board of the new children’s hospital, a supplementary “builders’ board” was being established “to oversee very tightly the actual building and project management.

He said this board would take precautions “to ensure that we end up with the best hospital and that we end up with it in the quickest fashion, and all due precautions are taken in negotiating with those in a position to influence the eventual outcome”.