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An Taisce writes to Taoiseach over Children's Hospital concerns

The national trust organisation is warning that the project will fall foul of the planning laws, as it won’t be co-located with a maternity hospital.

Image: Baby hold mother's finger via Shutterstock

AN TAISCE – THE National Trust charity – has written to the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste to detail concerns over the site of the planned National Children’s Hospital.

The facility is due to be completed on a site in and around St James’s Hospital in Dublin, it was confirmed last year.

It’s planned it will be built on a 6.3 hectare site on the campus of the south inner city hospital and will be finished by 2018.

However, An Taisce has set out concerns that, as the facility is not being co-located with a maternity hospital, the project would fall foul of Irish and European planning laws — leading to further delays in the process.

The  project – which will cost around €500 million to complete – was initially due to be built at a site adjoining the Mater on Dublin’s northside, but the location was changed last year after planning permission was denied.

An Taisce is calling for the Government to make use of a largely-vacant 15 acre site, just east of The Coombe and currently controlled by NAMA and Dublin City Council as a new location for the hospital.

The environmental charity says the move would provide a number of obvious benefits, including co-location with the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital.

The new trust structure outlined earlier this year sees St James’s and The Coombe become part of the St James’s Hospital Group — An Taisce is recommending that the Cabinet decision on the location of the hospital made last year could be changed to refer to the ‘St James’s Hospital Group,’ thus allowing the Government to develop the NAMA-controlled land.

Director of Policy with An Taisce James Nix says the country is currently “sleepwalking into a situation where we won’t have a new Children’s Hospital co-located with a Maternity Hospital”.

“Unless action is taken now, this reality will only be brought home to the wider public as the planning process unfolds – a time when it is too late to remedy the problem.

Nix says in his letter that An Taisce’s role “as it has been since its foundation in 1948, is to signal to Government when warning signs are flashing, particularly in the areas of land use, planning and our environment”.

Read: Children’s Hospital to be built on St James’s site by end of 2017, early 2018

Read: Plans for nine storey children’s hospital on St. James’s site revealed

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