Name of children’s hospital ‘unlikely to be Phoenix’ says Minister for Health

European Investment Bank loan of €490 million for National Children’s Hospital

 Minister for Health Simon Harris with  children from St James National School looking at a model of the new children’s hospital. Photograph: Julien Behal Photography

Minister for Health Simon Harris with children from St James National School looking at a model of the new children’s hospital. Photograph: Julien Behal Photography

 

The name of the new children’s hospital is “unlikely to be Phoenix”, Minister for Health Simon Harris has said.

Speaking in bitter cold at the site of the new hospital, at St James’s in Dublin, Mr Harris said he had been “putting a lot of time into the building of the hospital”.

“The name is somewhat incidental to me. I think it’s unlikely to be Phoenix. ”

His comments came after a hospital in Arizona, called Phoenix Children’s Hospital, raised concerns about the Irish use of the same name.

Mr Harris said the priority now was “not to get bogged down in a name”.

“This is far too big a project. This is something we’ve been talking about for decades. I just want to get the hospital built.”

He said he had heard a lot of commentary about the names both domestically and internationally.

“I think it’s important we reflect on the name and I will make a decision in terms of the name in advance of legislation that will bring the new children’s hospital into being in 2018,” he said.

The minister also said a European Investment Bank (EIB) loan of €490 million for the new national children’s hospital was “the largest capital project ever in health care” in Ireland and it’s also “the biggest single investment that the EIB has ever made in this country”.

He expressed gratitude to the EIB and said “now we can really begin to rebuild our country and that means we’re investing in health care again”.

EIB President Werner Hoyer said the loan was “the largest ever made in Ireland”.

“Sometimes we need to remind ourselves the EU does reasonable and good things. We’re very proud of this and it is just part of our engagement in Ireland where we are investing more than €1 billion this year,” he said.

“This project here shows what the EU is doing here as the EU’s bank, for people and citizens.”