St James’s site ‘vigorously opposed’ for Children’s Hospital

Plans for the new National Children’s Hospital on the St James’s Hospital campus in Dublin will be “vigorously opposed”, Jack and Jill Foundation founder and chief executive Jonathan Irwin said yesterday.

Jonathan Irwin, founder and CEO of the Jack & Jill Foundation, said he did not know of any parent in favour of the St James's site.

Mr Irwin said he did not know any parent who was in favour of the St James’s campus as the site for the hospital.

“We are going to do our very best to fight this,” he said.

“There is no good reason why it should be on the campus of St James’s. It is all to do with medical politics.”

He said the wrong site had been chosen. There was poor access; it was located in a very congested part of Dublin and parking was “woeful”. There were also security issues.

“The building itself is very good,” he said. “It’s the location that’s a disaster and far too costly.

“There were 600 parking tickets handed out to people who parked in St James’s Hospital last year so don’t tell me parking is not a problem.”

The board of the charity, which helps parents to care for their brain-damaged children at home, decided unanimously to oppose the location of the hospital.

“As one of the major children’s charities in this country, we cannot allow sick children to be locked into St James’s for the next 100 years,” said Mr Irwin.

He said the hospital should be built on a site in Blanchardstown, Co Dublin, that was near the M50 and where there was plenty of car parking space available.

The New Children’s Hospital Alliance, who are also opposed to the St James’s site, want the new hospital to be built on State-owned land near Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown, mainly because it is more accessible.

Alliance spokesman Finn Breathnach said there was no evidence co-locating a children’s hospital with an adult hospital resulted in better clinical outcomes for children.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath said very serious feasibility concerns about the planned hospital raised in a letter by a senior consultant at St James’s Hospital last year had now been side-stepped or deliberately ignored.

“This letter is a profoundly disturbing insight into the true nature of the in-fighting and pathetic machinations at work behind the drive to have the new National Children’s Hospital established at the St James’s location,” said Mr McGrath.

Cystic Fibrosis Ireland said they welcomed the progress that had been made in developing the hospital at St James’s that would make a huge difference to children with cystic fibrosis in the Dublin area and beyond.

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