Varadkar offers land to facilitate hospital bid


MINSTER FOR Sport Leo Varadkar is offering to provide land at the sports campus at Abbotstown in west Dublin to facilitate a bid by Connolly hospital to become the site of the proposed national children’s hospital.

Connolly hospital has told the Government’s review group that the new children’s hospital could form part of a new academic health centre planned between it, Beaumont Hospital and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

Connolly hospital said representatives had met the chairman and chief executive of the National Sports Campus Development Authority and that they had confirmed their willingness to grant lands at Abbotstown – understood to be about 40 acres – to facilitate the national children’s hospital project.

A spokesman for the Department of Transport and Sport said: “Minister Varadkar is willing to make land available at no cost to the HSE and with no strings attached, in order to facilitate a children’s hospital in the park. This would leave more than adequate room for the sports campus development, as well as for spin-off biotech businesses.”

Connolly hospital told the Government review group that its submission to become the site for the national children’s hospital should be read in the context of its current merger with Beaumont Hospital and RCSI to form an academic health centre. It said Connolly and Beaumont would function as “one hospital on two sites”.

It said the merger answered the single criticism of the Connolly site when it first bid for the national children’s hospital in 2006, namely breadth of expertise and existing paediatric linkages.

“As one hospital we now present one of the largest groupings of consultant expertise on staff with national specialties and existing paediatric activity.

“In keeping with the best models of academic health centres in Europe, we would suggest the ideal campus would offer five services in close proximity. Namely, from cradle to grave, maternity, paediatric and adult facilities along with a co-located university campus and a biotechnology innovation campus to harness and leverage the knowledge base concentrated in such a centre.

“By virtue of its size, location and organisational relationships the Connolly campus is the only campus in the country providing the opportunity for such developments. It is the only campus that can confidently future-proof the national paediatric hospital for any conceivable expansion needs over the next century.”

In a separate submission to the review body, the combined medical boards of the three Dublin children’s hospitals have backed the principle that the new children’s hospital should be ideally co-located with an adult academic hospital and a maternity hospital.

Spoiled for choice possible sites

FIFTEEN LOCATIONS have now been mooted for the new national children’s hospital.

Some centre on existing hospitals, in keeping with the Government’s principle that the new paediatric centre should be co-located with an adult teaching hospital. These include the Mater, St James’s, Tallaght and Connolly hospitals. The Coombe Hospital has suggested a plan for the new children’s hospital at a site off the South Circular Road.

Developer Flynn and O’Flaherty has offered an eight-acre site on Navan Road, free of charge.

Solicitor and developer Noel Smyth has long had an offer on the table of a site off the Naas Road, at Newlands Cross.

Minister for Health James Reilly told the Dáil that Nama had identified 11 possible sites.