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

The decision was made at a Cabinet meeting earlier today and has been announced by the government this afternoon.

Image: tahitianlime via Flickr/Creative Commons

THE NATIONAL CHILDREN’S Hospital will be built on a site in and around St James’s Hospital in Dublin the government has confirmed.

The hospital will be built on a 6.3 hectare site on the campus of the south inner city hospital and will be finished by the end of 2017 or early 2018, the Health Minister James Reilly confirmed today.

The announcement followed a decision by the Cabinet which only considered the issue of a National Paediatric Hospital.

A total of €400 million of government money will be made available for the construction of the hospital. The balance will be made up of Lotto funding, with this figure determined by Cabinet at a later point.

Reilly would not be drawn on the exact amount the hospital will cost saying that this could only be determined after the tendering process. However estimates put it at around €500 million.

Reilly said that the hospital, which will form the largest capital expenditure project of this government’s tenure, will advance the “economic and social development of Dublin city”.

“In the end it is about putting the children first,” Reilly said. “In these very difficult times the new children’s hospital can become a beacon for all of us.”

The announcement was made today at a press conference where Reilly, Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald and junior health minister Alex White were in attendance.

Mater site

Also in attendance was the author of a report into potential sites, Dr Frank Dolphin, who spearheaded a review of sites in the wake of An Bord Pleanála refusing planning permission for the site originally earmarked for the Mater Hospital earlier this year.

Reilly said that €39 million had been spent on the Mater site but said he was advised that €13 million of this can be “reused in the St James’s location” meaning that €26 million would be lost.

He said that “given that the significant risk that remains about planning at Mater site” the government was happy to proceed with the site at St James’s.

Responding to the announcement today, the Fianna Fáil health spokesperson, Bill Kelleher, called on the government to expedite the process of design, planning and development of the hospital.

He said: “While I welcome today’s decision it is important now that the Government brings about clarity in relation to the funding that will be needed for the new site and the timeline by which the hospital will be delivered.

“Children have waited long enough for a world-class healthcare facility and it should be delivered a matter of the utmost priority for Government.”

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

Read: More details emerge on Coombe National Children’s Hospital proposal

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Hugh O'Connell

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