Dear Sir... Readers' Views (17/12/16)

Your letters, your views...
Dear Sir... Readers' Views (17/12/16)

Connolly by far best hospital site for children

I wish to refute the claims in yesterday’s opinion piece written by Professor Jonathan O’Hourihane ‘Children want best hospital possible — it must be St James’s’ (Irish Examiner, December 15).

He wrote in response to Dr Fin Breatnach’s piece on December 5 on behalf of Connolly for Kids Hospital group including so many parents from all over Ireland.

I am one of the parents that Dr Breatnach represents.

We do not have a PR machine unlike the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board who have one of the slickest, not to mention most expensive, PR companies in the land.

What we have is something far better, far more genuine, we have paediatricians, nurses, paramedics, parents and people who care for the future of Ireland’s sickest children.

The St James site in the inner city is in a congested, cramped area measuring 48 acres in total, 12 of which would only be allocated to the children’s hospital and virtual maternity hospital (which will never be granted planning permission).

There is terrible access, and access is key to saving the lives of babies and children.

There is going to be too little parking and spaces aren’t ample to cater for families.

There is no space for expansion nor for parkland, this cannot be overlooked.

Of course a child in ICU doesn’t care if they can see a tree or a deer, if they are in ICU, survival is the biggest wish for both parent and child.

However most long stay patients are not in ICU, not all the time anyway.

My son, now aged 11, is a long- term patient of Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin. He spent three years there in a room of about 10x12ft.

He was in and out of ICU eight times but most of his time was spent in that tiny room.

He has acquired hospital bugs so could not leave his room — ever.

This is still the case.

There is a rooftop garden now in the new children’s heart centre in Crumlin which he cannot use and it will be the same at the St James’s site.

They promise a garden the size of Croker — but it isn’t! It will be a rooftop garden in a concrete jungle.

Two thirds of an acre.

The meadow garden on ground level is an acre but has been earmarked by John Pollock of the NPHDB as expansion space.

Connolly has 145 acres, 90 acres of which will be dedicated to the new children’s hospital if it were to be located there along with the most important co-location, the Rotunda maternity hospital.

This will mean easy access off the M50, loads of surface/multi-storey car parking, helipad that can take all sizes of helicopters, plenty of space for expansion and 50 acres for green parkland.

The healing benefits of nature cannot be underestimated and also for the children, siblings, parents and staff’s mental health, having somewhere to go to gather your thoughts is vital.

It is in my opinion equal to the importance of the clinical aspects at the hospital.

For children, play is the most important thing in their world.

I have two sisters who are play therapists and one sister who is a nurse.

We must give our children the best hospital we can, a holistic approach is necessary.

The comparison with Great Ormond Street Hospital is ludicrous as they are far different.

GOSH is a quaternary and tertiary care hospital, there is no Accident and Emergency department and children usually go there by planned admission.

Children are referred there from all over the world and only the sickest children in the UK attend.

My son had reason to be an inpatient there on two occasions as he has a rare disease. He was transferred from Crumlin by ambulance, flown in and then got an ambulance transfer from Heathrow.

He had to be blue-lighted to the hospital the first time.

There is traffic.

Also to note, they have a park adjacent to the hospital with 7 acres, it’s called Coram’s Fields and an adult cannot enter it without being accompanied by a child under 16yrs.

It has a pet corner, duck pond, play grounds, sand pits and a cafe.

It’s a wonderful little piece of heaven in the centre of the city.

When we were there it was Halloween and on Guy Fawke’s night there was a firework display for the children who were well enough to attend.

Professor O’Hourihane “admits” that critically ill children are occasionally brought in by car.

This we know to be a ridiculous statement, I am part of a group of almost 170 mums of the sickest children all over Ireland and we drive our children to hospital all of the time except for the times they need an ambulance.

90% of children travel by car and also 90% of kids come from outside the M50. The Luas will be of little benefit.

Dr James Sheehan who has vast experience of building hospitals estimated that €200 million would be saved if the new children’s hospital were to be built at Connolly and has also offered his expertise and services for free to oversee the project.

Prof O’Hourihane asked if our group could wait 30 years for a new hospital, he asked the same of oncology patients and The Jack and Jill children’s foundation.

Well of course not, but God knows how long we will be waiting for this virtual hospital to be built because they are going to run into all sorts of trouble at the St James’s site and they are going to run out of money.

Not that the overrun of €500m-plus seems to bother them.

That’s without planning for a maternity hospital and the necessary parking that goes along with it.

The Government have refused to listen to doctors, nurses, parents and others so what are we to do?

We have only one vested interest and that is our children.

This is not a democracy, this is Ireland.

Aisling McNiffe (Parent)

Extra Special Kids group

Connolly for Kids Hospital group

Straffan, Co Kildare

Spend a day with a sick child, you’ll see Connolly site is best

I’m outraged at the article by Professor Jonathan O’Hourihane.

James’s is not the right location for our children’s hospital and thank God professionals like Dr Fin Breatnach are fighting for our children and the children of the future.

Professor O’Hourihane completely dismissed all the arguments that Dr Fin Breathnach and Connolly for Kids Hospital have made.

Does Professor O’Hourihane also know that in the current adult hospital expansion in services for cancer cannot be made as they need the room for the children’s hospital.

I live in Dublin, I’m the mother of a very sick child.

We attend the nightmare that is Temple St, James’s will be exactly the same.

Every article mentions public transport.

Many families cannot travel this way due to the level of illness a child has, the cost of public transport is also prohibitive if you are travelling from the country.

There is no proper outside space for long-term patients, helicopters can’t land.

To build the maternity hospital, the existing building in the adult hospital must be knocked down.

Staff safety is not thought about as they will have no access to safe secure parking.

A nurse after a 14-hour shift will not want to take public transport at an unsociable hour.

There is still time for people to listen, to change this decision and build the hospital our children and the children of the future deserve.

Prof O’Hourihane’s article made me so angry, spend a day in the life of a sick child and you will realise Connolly is the best location.

Samantha Villena



Support persecuted Christian woman

Asia Bibi is a Catholic mother of five who has spent the last seven years on Pakistan’s death row awaiting execution for blasphemy.

In June 2009 she drank some water from the village well and was then accused by a local woman with a grudge of “soiling” the well with her “unclean, Christian hands”.

Asia Bibi dared defend her Christian beliefs. For this, she was savagely beaten, arrested, hastily convicted in a local court of blasphemy and sentenced to hang.

Since then the Muslim Governor of Punjab and a Pakistani Catholic politician have been murdered for trying to help her.

Pakistan’s senior judges are now too afraid to release Asia Bibi in case they too are killed by Islamists.

Should she be released, Italy, Spain and France have all offered her asylum.

Now 51 years old, she will spend this Christmas day in the windowless cell that is her home until the Pakistani government either pardons her or decides to hang her.

Irish Examiner readers can help by posting a Christmas card addressed to Asia Bibi c/o Ambassador Dr Syed Ahmed, Embassy of Pakistan, 1B Ailesbury Road, Dublin 4.

Ambassador Ahmed will forward your cards to Asia Bibi in her cell.

Your Christmas card will show this brave lady that she is not forgotten and also help maintain pressure on Pakistan to release her. Not bad value for 72c.

Karl Martin


Dublin 13

Vested interests the tail wagging the dog

One in five households are renting and the vast majority of those renting are taxpayers or are students dependent on taxpayers.

These taxpayers are now expected to finance a 4% per annum pay rise for landlords and vulture funds, along with the ongoing extortion of insurance costs and other burdens.

As they continue to be squeezed, they are expected to show restraint on pay claims and watch as corporations and international finance run rings around the revenue and distort GDP figures.

Now try and convince voters of this country that our political elite are serving the citizens of this country ahead of vested interests.

Corporate finance and the capital class seem to be the tail wagging the dog in this country and the inability of the main parties to face down the Market facilitates the ongoing transfer of wealth from the majority to a minority.

This reality should be noted by all voters ahead of the next election.

Barry Walsh

21 Linden Ave, Blackrock


Bertie and FF tent to solve housing crisis

Ran into Del Boy down at The Old Bull And Bush boozer.

Told him about the housing crisis back in Paddy Land.

Del had the answer quicker then a rat up a drain pipe. He said he could do one, on fixing The Manor in record time.

He said: “Bring back Bertie and The Galway Tent; Bertie and Paddy The Plasterer, and Bertie’s property developer mates, would soon build houses, and solve this in six months. C’mon Antoni, my son!, you know it makes sense, Don’t be a plonker all your life!”

Merci! Beau-coup Del Boy.

Have passed the message on to simply Simon.

Hope he gets your drift?

Anthony Woods

Marian Avenue, Ennis

Co Clare

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