Mixture of anger, relief, and bargaining from parents and TDs

Parent representatives have reacted with a mixture of anger and relief to news that a national children’s hospital site has been chosen after almost two decades of delays.

Spokespeople for families across the country highlighted the contradictory views about where the facility should be based.

The Tallaght Hospital Action Group hit out at Health Minister James Reilly’s plan, saying that the west Dublin location they put forward was still the best option.

“[We are] deeply disappointed in the Cabinet’s decision to locate the children’s hospital at St James’s Hospital,” said spokeswoman Triona Murphy.

“We fully believe Tallaght fulfilled the minister’s terms of reference to the Dolphin group [which considered sites for the hospital].”

These include accessibility, value for money, construction time, and clinical specialities.

Ms Murphy said the “patients of Tallaght have yet again been overlooked due to political expediency and medical politics”, adding that the action group “awaits the full publication of the deliberations of the Dolphin group with great interest”.

However, the action group’s views were contradicted by New Crumlin Hospital Group. Chairman and parent spokesman Louis Roden said the right decision had been made.

“It’s very much what we should have been looking for, although whether the Mater should have been stopped is debatable.

“The fact the Coombe is close by and there is a massive amount of State-owned land around St James’s — about 13 acres — is important.

“There are, as the minister said, some moderate planning concerns, but St James’s has had planning permission for a co-location hospital which was eight storeys high in some places. So we would hope there won’t be another fiasco.”

Meanwhile, despite opposition parties welcoming the decision, Fianna Fáil urged the Government to speed up the works.

“I hope the decision brings an end to the relentless debate about where this new hospital is to be located and that there are no planning difficulties that arise with this new location,” said health spokesman Billy Kelleher.

He said concerns over services for children in other hospitals would be raised with the Government due to the delayed construction at St James’s.

Sinn Féin said it wanted a “social dividend”, such as construction jobs, for inner-city Dublin over and above the jobs the hospital would bring to the area.

“Hopefully this will lead to the regeneration of local business in the vicinity,” said social protection spokesman Aengus Ó Snodaigh.

“In the long-term, [it should] facilitate the long-awaited regeneration of the largest social housing complexes in Dublin — Dolphin House and St Teresa’s Gardens,”

* Read more:

Mixture of anger, relief, and bargaining from parents and TDs

Losing bidders disappointed at site decision

Arguments for and against the St James’s site

Children’s hospital faces IT and planning risks

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