New site for children's hospital


Madam, – The constant focus of debate on the location of the new children’s hospital misses the point and is a distraction from the real and substantive concerns articulated by Philip Lynch in his resignation statement (Home News, October 16th). The “location debate” is simply a surrogate used to expose the objections to, and the absence of professional and lay consensus about the process that led to the decision to choose the Mater site.

The vast majority of the children who will be served by this new hospital are not yet born. They must therefore depend on the secondary stakeholders to ensure all the elements of this important enterprise are addressed and resolved. There can be no doubt that in this instance everybody shares the same objective.

When Mr Lynch refers to “the need for open and informed discussion at board level at all times, the importance of clarity on governance proposals” and his expression of concern about “the effectiveness of stakeholder communications”, he is surely responding to the dismay and disquiet which continues to dog this project.

Minister for Health Mary Harney’s admonition to resist “attempting to revisit the decisions of the past” is seen by many as an invitation to continue ignoring the principles of inclusive engagement, meaningful consultation and consensus building, all of which are necessary for success.

Those few professionals who openly oppose are not alone. They are wise and experienced and see the corrosive effects on morale of a command and control culture which is now besetting the whole transformation agenda in the health services.

The least the children of tomorrow deserve is a vibrant, committed and valued team of healthcare professionals and lay administrators who will ensure the new children’s hospital will be the envy of the nation. – Yours, etc,



Co Louth.

Madam, – There has been much criticism of the proposed location of the national children’s hospital beside the Mater and championing of a greenfield site on the southside. While this may marginally convenience some local drivers, a city centre location makes more sense for the country as a whole.

Dublin city centre is accessible by train, bus and tram for all our citizens. Nowhere in this debate has any mention been made of the rural and urban poor who do not own their own cars and for whom this greenfield site is many stressful hours and many stops away.

The fact that a city-centre location will be surrounded by core hospitals facilitating multi-disciplinary teams to serve the national children’s hospital should also be acknowledged. – Yours, etc,


Athboy, Co Meath.

Madam, – Dr Liam Claffey (October 15th) urges us to leave the issue of the location of the proposed new children’s hospital “in the expert hands of the architects and planners”.

Just like the ghost housing estates and empty hotels? – Yours etc,


Stannaway Road, Dublin 12.

Madam, – I note with interest that Dr Liam Claffey says that all paediatricians will be under the same roof at the new children’s hospital (October 15th). Dr Claffey seems to have forgotten there is not enough room at the Mater site to cater for existing tertiary services, not to mind space for future expansion. Much of the scarce tertiary expertise he refers to will be delivering care at the €50 million new “overflow” unit at Tallaght or be commuting between Tallaght and the Mater site (most likely sitting in traffic or waiting in the queue to get one of the 333 parking spaces allocated to the staff of the new children’s hospital). – Yours, etc,


St Kevin’s Gardens,

Dartry, Dublin 6.