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Appeal over fire safety regulations of new children's hospital was made 'with an eye towards costs'

It was reported yesterday that the board had appealed three conditions imposed on the hospital.

The projected design of the new hospital.
The projected design of the new hospital.
Image: NCH

CHILDREN’S MINISTER KATHERINE Zappone has said that an appeal over fire safety requirements at the new children’s hospital in Dublin were made “with an eye towards costs”.

Zappone was speaking following a report yesterday in the Sunday Times which showed that the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board had lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanála looking to get around a number of conditions related to fire safety.

Four specific conditions were imposed on it by Dublin City Council in relation to fire safety when planning permission for the hospital was granted. The development board has appealed three of these.

Speaking to RTÉ News yesterday, Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone said that the appeal was made with an eye towards costs, but that children’s safety won’t be compromised.

“The primary responsibility and concern is the safety of our children – full stop, end of story,” she said.

At the same time… they do have to have an eye on the costs in relation to the hospital and so I think with those concerns they questioned whether or not they need these three certain conditions.

The National Children’s Hospital will be located on the St James’s Hospital site in Dublin and will take over for the three existing hospitals in the county.

It is due to be completed in 2021 and it is estimated that it will cost over €1 billion by the time it is complete.

In a statement released yesterday, the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board said that children’s safety was the “primary concern” for everyone involved in the project.

“The safety of children attending the new children’s hospital and that of their parents and visitors, together with hospital staff and the wider community, is the primary concern for all those involved in this project,” the board said.

“The National Paediatric Hospital Development Board held extensive consultations with the Dublin City Council Fire Brigade in preparation for the application of the Fire Safety Certificate for the new children’s hospital, and we are confident that the fire safety design measures we have proposed are both compliant with, and indeed exceed, current regulations and standards.

“The provision of fire sprinkler protection planned for the new children’s hospital will exceed the number that is set out within the fire safety regulation legislation.

A statutory process is underway in relation to a number of conditions relating to the Fire Safety Certificate. A decision is expected from on An Bord Pleanála by year end and the NPHDB will comply with any fire safety requirements associated with ABP’s decision.

Read: ‘It’s never too late to do the right thing’: Children’s hospital controversy rumbles on

Read: Harris announces plans for single body to run ‘secular’ new National Children’s Hospital

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