Update on design of new national children’s hospital

AN update on the design of the new national children’s hospital at the controversial Mater Hospital site in Dublin will be given today by those charged with its development.

The media briefing was announced by the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board a day after news broke that Philip Lynch, had resigned from his position as chairman of the board.

While Mr Lynch has been refusing to explain why he resigned, it is believed it was over concerns about cost and location of the new 392-bed hospital.

Chief executive of the board, Eilísh Hardiman, is expected to defend the €650 million project at a press conference in Dublin.

According to the Health Service Executive, the state is providing €450m towards the cost of the hospital, with at least €100m in funding coming from operating the car park and other commercial interests and the balance made up in donations from philanthropic organisations.

Mr Lynch, who is chief executive of investment company, One51, was appointed to the development board in 2007.

He is believed to have resigned after Health Minister, Mary Harney, told him the debate on the hospital’s location was closed.

The minister has appointed businessman, John Gallagher, as the new chairman of the board.

The New Children’s Hospital Alliance, a group of health professionals, parents and other interested persons, believe the geographically constrained Mater site is not in the best interests of sick children.

The campaign group want the project to be paused and the whole selection process thoroughly reviewed by a panel of independent national and international experts.

Alliance member, Dr Fin Breathnach, a retired consultant paediatric oncologist and chief executive of Barretstown, which helps children deal with serious illness, said the way the project was handled made him wonder if he was living in a dictatorship or a democracy.

Dr Breathnach said that Mr Lynch, who had a record in bringing projects to completion, was not a quitter and, clearly, must have had reservations about the project.

The HSE’s national director of commercial services, Bryan Gilroy, who is responsible for funding all of the health authority’s new capital developments, said it was hoped construction would start in the middle of next year.

Mr Gilroy, who was speaking on RTÉ radio, said the decision stood to locate the children’s hospital on the Mater site. Mr Gilroy said construction would be completed at the end of 2014.


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