There will have to be a re-think on the name of the new children’s hospital, Health Minister Simon Harris said yesterday.
The name ‘Phoenix’ was chosen last October, but a hospital with the same name in Arizona in the US has since threatened legal action.
Mr Harris said yesterday he thought it “unlikely” that the new children’s hospital would be known as Phoenix Children’s Hospital Ireland.
The minister was speaking after the European Investment Bank announced it would provide funding of €490m for the construction of the children’s hospital.
The EIB loan is the largest-ever single capital loan in Ireland and represents almost half of the €1bn exchequer investment needed to develop the hospital, and two outpatient and urgent care centres in Dublin.
The new hospital is being developed on the campus of St James’s Hospital in Dublin and is due to open its doors in 2022.
The centre at Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, will open in 2019 and the second at Tallaght Hospital will open in 2020.
Mr Harris said he had received correspondence from the hospital in Arizona about the Phoenix name, but he also wanted to reflect on the views of the public.
“I am going to reflect further on it. I think it is unlikely to be Phoenix,” he said.
Asked what name he would prefer to call the hospital, Mr Harris said he had been concentrating on getting the hospital built. “The name is somewhat incidental to me.”
Mr Harris also said he would decide on the hospital name in advance of introducing the Children’s Health Bill early in 2018, which will bring the new children’s hospital entity into being.
He said the new children’s hospital is the most significant capital investment in healthcare in the history of the State and the EIB’s loan is a vote of confidence, not just in the project, but in Ireland.
The National Treasury Management Agency will enter the contract for the loan on behalf of Ireland.
The EIB is an international public bank owned by 28 member states, including Ireland, and can provide finance at rates that are cheaper than other private sector finance providers and the sovereign bond markets.
The EIB has previously provided around €3.9bn into Ireland since 2012, which includes loans to the exchequer, Irish public-private partnerships, and other Irish borrowers including Bord Gáis, ESB, the Housing Finance Agency, and various universities.
EIB president Werner Hoyer — who was in Ireland yesterday to sign the loan contract — said the investment was for a very good purpose.
“Sometimes, we need to remind ourselves that the EU does reasonable and good things,” he said.
Mr Hoyer said he was proud to be involved in the hospital development. “It means that children from all over Ireland can expect very good treatment and that should be at the centre of our deliberations.”
The EIB is investing over €1bn in Ireland this year.