Rejection of children's hospital plan

 

Sir, – The 286 severely disabled children currently under the wing of the Jack &Jill Children’s Foundation know our hospital system inside out. Indeed, it is not uncommon to dash to hospital twice a week with these fragile babies. This I know from personal experience caring for my son Jack, whose 16th birthday anniversary occurs this February 29th. Since establishing this Foundation in Jack’s name in 1997 when he passed away, we have supported more than 1,500 children and their families by funding and delivering quality home nursing care and respite.

However, it has taken blood, sweat and tears to raise the €35 million we’ve needed while receiving a paltry €4.5 million grant from the HSE. Ironically, some €35 million has already spent on the consultation process for the new Children’s Hospital, without a brick laid or a location sorted yet. That amount would keep Jack & Jill going for the next 16 years. So if there’s a refund to be had please direct it our way Mr Reilly.

And it’s not just the cost of the consultation process that doesn’t make sense. Views were sought from our nurses regarding the new children’s hospital throughout this consultation process, but they weren’t heeded. If they were, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

What we need now is less talk and more listening; and this debate must be broadened to include home nursing care for sick children. Why is it that we still don’t have a national home nursing care budget in Ireland in 2012? If the 286 children under our wing ended up back in hospital, not only would the already dangerously overcrowded hospital system not cope, but it would cost the State more than €42 million per annum in terms of hospital care regardless of the location of the new Children’s Hospital.

I am ready, willing and able to consult with this new review group, free of charge. – Yours, etc,

JONATHAN IRWIN, CEO,

Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation,

Johnstown, Naas, Co Kildare.

Sir, – With regard to the decision of An Bord Pleanála to refuse permission for the new national children’s hospital, while I agree that the location was inappropriate due to lack of accessibility, the rationale that it would have had a negative impact on our city skyline is backward.

The impact that this prehistoric mentality has had on the citizens of Dublin is profound. People were forced to move to surrounding counties during the boom and are now trapped in negative equity miles from the capital.

It is time that we embrace high- rise and skyscraper development. Once they are built to the highest standard and design, and not thrown together by cowboys, our great city will be the better for it. – Yours, etc,

THOMAS O’CONNOR,

Clonmacnoise Road,

Crumlin, Dublin 12.

Sir, – An Bord Pleanála’s decision to refuse planning for the national children’s hospital is a disgrace. The people of this country have had enough hardship over the past three years. The €35 million that has already been spent on this project should not be wasted. Just for once, the needs of our children should come first. – Yours, etc,

PATRICIA MC CANN,

Killurin,

Enniscorthy,

Co Wexford.

Sir, – If you were a sick child or a parent of a sick child, which option would you choose? 1. A view of every rooftop and backyard of an inner city, complete with satellite and communication apparatus, extraction units and including an aerial view of a prison. 2. A view of green fields gardens and trees.

Which option is most likely to encourage well-being and recovery? – Yours, etc,

AILEEN BRODERICK,

Oak Park,

Carlow.

Sir, – As someone who worked in the Mater Hospital for 14 years and as a parent who had to rush a child to hospital through peak traffic, I applaud the planners for getting this decision right, even if for less important reasons. – Yours, etc,

AVRIL HEDDERMAN,

Priory Grove,

Stillorgan, Co Dublin.

Sir, – Died, February 23rd, 2012, after a protracted and tumultuous illness, The Children’s Hospital, Eccles Street, deeply regretted by Government ministers, politicians and party hacks alike. Much celebrated by all who believe in balanced living, environmental protection and proper planning and development. – Yours, etc,

PHILIP O’REILLY,

Grosvenor Place,

Rathmines, Dublin 6.

Sir, – If they don’t build the hospital, children will be waiting on trolleys. If they do build it (on the Mater site), they will be waiting in traffic. – Yours, etc,

ROBERT DUFFY,

Hacketstown,

Co Carlow.

Sir, – From the letters published since the rejection of planning permission for the national children’s hospital, are we to conclude that there are no problems with traffic congestion in Tallaght, Clondalkin, Ringsend or Islandbridge?

It has become fashionable to criticise the choice of the Mater site; some of the undisguised glee at last week’s news might be curbed by considering the thousands of children who will continue to be cared for in some of the Georgian buildings making up the Dublin skyline An Bord Pleanála seems so desperate to protect. – Yours, etc,

IRWIN GILL,

Strand Road,

Sandymount, Dublin 4.