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The projected design of the new hospital. NCH
phoenix hospital

Not everyone's happy with the name for the children's hospital

It’s going to be called the Phoenix Children’s Health.

THE GOVERNMENT’S DECISION to name the new national children’s hospital ‘Phoenix Children’s Health’ has sparked criticism from opposition politicians and campaigners.

Yesterday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Health Simon Harris announced the new name – but some people deemed it inappropriate given the news over the weekend.

It was revealed by the Sunday Times that the board of the new hospital were challenging three fire safety conditions contained in its planning permission.

Criticising the name, professor John Crown wrote on Twitter last night: “Not a joke! Children’s hospital which wants derogation from sprinkler requirement to be named Phoenix.”

Speaking to, historian Mary McAuliffe slammed the name as “meaningless”.

“Listening to the Taoiseach’s speech yesterday about meaningless spin about how the Phoenix inspires community generation, new beginnings, that sort of thing… This is a children’s hospital, not anything else. It’s a hospital in which sick children will be cared for,” McAuliffe said.

“Calling it the Phoenix and then trying to get out of some of the fire regulations is just bad timing,” she said.

Speaking to RTÉ News on Sunday, Children’s minister Katherine Zappone said that the appeal over fire safety requirements at the new hospital 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,” Zappone said.

Simon Harris insisted yesterday that having the new name for the hospital made the project “even more real and meaningful”.

In a statement, the Department of Health said that the name “symbolises the birth of new opportunities”.

“The Phoenix is a mythological symbol of renewal, community regeneration, vision, hope and inspiration.”

Sinn Féin TD Louise O’Reilly told that the focus should be solely on building a hospital before having any discussions about the name.

“It’s a handy distraction for the government that we’re talking about the name and we’re not talking about the health and safety issues that have arisen over the weekend and I think it’s probably more important,” O’Reilly said.

“This is just a government who are desperate for some good news to distract from the real news.”

Construction of hospital

Construction began on the new children’s hospital earlier this year. It will be located at the St James’s Hospital campus on the outskirts of Dublin city centre.

The project is projected to cost over €1 billion in full and is due to be completed in 2021.

When it is completed it will incorporate the staff and operations of Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin, Temple Street Children’s University Hospital and Tallaght Hospital.

It was announced in August that the hospital will be fully secular.

Kathleen Lynn

Sinn Féin has previously called for the new hospital to be named after Kathleen Lynn. As well as being a Sinn Féin politician, Lynn was a suffragette and doctor who co-founded Saint Ultan’s Children’s Hospital in Dublin in 1919.

The hospital closed in the 1980s when it merged with the National Children’s Hospital on Harcourt Street, which in turn was later relocated to Tallaght Hospital.

Speaking in favour of naming the hospital after Lynn, Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh said she ”challenged many of the norms of society at the time in relation to women”.

Likewise today, McAuliffe told that she believes if that the hospital should be named after Lynn.

“If we’re going to name something, we should name it after a person,” she said.

The person most obviously associated with hospitals and hospitals with sick children, who spent her life and devoted her life to the care and support of particularly poor children, was Kathleen Lynn who set up St Ultan’s Hospital in 1919.

There is already a Phoenix Children’s Hospital located in Phoenix, Arizona in the US.

Read: The new children’s hospital will be called… Phoenix Children’s Health

More: Appeal over fire safety regulations of new children’s hospital was made ‘with an eye towards costs’

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