Site for national children's hospital

 

Madam, – Following Julie O’Neill’s heartfelt letter (September 3rd), I find it frightening to see the plans for the National Children’s Hospital at the Mater rumbling ahead largely unchallenged except for a few brave professional voices such as Maurice Neligan and Fin Breathnach. The purpose of my letter is to ask, or rather politely insist, that the Department of Health take stock and properly review the Mater location, before we pass the point of no return.

I started the Jack Jill Foundation in 1997 based on my family’s personal experience with our son Jack who was brain damaged and who was himself no stranger to hospitals. Since then, we have supported 1,300 families around the country with home nursing care, with 322 families under our wing right now. So I feel know what I am talking about when it comes to caring for fragile babies and the regular dashes our families make to hospital in crisis situations.

My nurses tell me that with the exception of a few parents who live in Dublin, many of our families are greatly distressed at the thought of trying to find the Mater and struggling through the maze of one-way streets to get there in an emergency. We are conducting more formal research with those families over the next month to back this up.

Indeed, with the well-being of Irish children over the next 100 years in mind, it is baffling to me that we are not having an open debate on the location of the new National Children’s Hospital. The hospital development research team interviewed my nurses about their views on this subject some years ago and it seems someone wasn’t listening.

Now our nurses, who cover every county in Ireland, are hearing complaints from traumatised and tired parents, who have to take trips into hospital with their child twice or three times a month, about the Mater location and the fact that it simply doesn’t work for them and then questioning why it can’t be located on the M50 ring road.

Please, please, let’s all ask the difficult questions before it’s too late. – Yours, etc,

JONATHAN IRWIN,

Founder CEO of the Jack

Jill Children’s Foundation,

Johnstown,

Naas,

Co Kildare.