We can’t afford to get location of new Children’s Hospital wrong

12th June 2016

[UPDATE: The next Council Meeting is being held tomorrow, 13th June. At this meeting, we will have representatives from both Connolly for Kids and the HSE to discuss the proposed hospital at St. James. I look forward to hearing from both sides and will update you as to the outcomes of that meeting.]

At last months County Council meeting, I requested a suspension of standing orders to hear the following motion:

That the members of Wicklow County Council call on the Minister for Health to reverse the decision to locate the National Children’s Hospital at St. James’s Hospital and locate the new Children’s Hospital for all the children of Ireland at Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown.

The proposed National Children’s Hospital is a e700 million-plus project that will see the 3 children hospitals in Dublin being brought together under one roof. It’s current planned location is St. James Hospital, in the heart of Dublin city.

I don’t believe that Dublin City Centre is the right location for our National Children’s Hospital. As a parent of young children, I would hate to think that my child’s health could be impacted adversely by a city centre traffic jam.

I am not alone in this.

A group of concerned parents, doctors, planners and children’s charities, including the Jack and Jill Foundation, have come together to recommend that the National Children’s Hospital be instead located at Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown. But traffic congestion is only one reason why the site at Connolly is more suitable than that at St. James.

Connolly Hospital is a 145 acre greenfield site located on the M50. 75% of the children that will use this hospital are from outside Dublin – Connolly will be quicker and easier for them to access. 

145 acres of available space at Connolly means that our National Children’s Hospital have room to grow as our population and needs grow. It will allow for the co-location of the hospital with the Rotunda Maternity Hospital, when it moves to Connolly.

The St. James site cannot take Coastguard rescue helicopter – this will not be an issue in Connolly.

And importantly, a National Children’s Hospital at Connolly can be built cheaper and quicker than one at St. James due to the access and construction difficulties faced by building a new facility in such a small, city centre location.

This is a 700m euro project. It will be our National Children’s Hospital – we will only get one chance at this – it is not something we can afford to get wrong.