Hermitage gets go-ahead for first independent clinic
Sean Mulryan and Larry Goodman's Hermitage Medical Clinic is planning for further expansion at its west-Dublin campus after getting the green light for the first independently owned paediatric clinic in the country.
South Dublin County Council has given planning permission to Hermitage for a clinic with 18 suites for consultants, 50 additional parking spaces and ancillary accommodation as part of a €6m investment.
The company has been in existence for four-and-a-half years.
Chief executive Eamon Fitzgerald said it was hoping to provide additional services on the campus in time.
He said about 50pc of the population still had health insurance and there was growing demand for health services among a number of groups, including children. He said the new independent clinic would be the first in Ireland of its type.
There is already a 101-bedroom hospital at the site on the Old Lucan Road in Dublin 20.
According to the last set of accounts for Hermitage it was loss making, but the profit-and-loss account showed a huge reduction in losses and a significant rise in turnover. The accounts disclosed that developer Mr Mulryan had the majority of the shares through his Ballymore Ireland group.
Mr Goodman, believed to be one of the wealthiest businessmen in Ireland, has already been a backer of another health venture at the Galway clinic. The other major backers of the Hermitage business are John Flynn and George Duffy.
The business has absorbed a lot of capital from shareholders and backers.
The last set of accounts showed a shareholders' deficit of €29m. By the end of 2009 the backers had provided loans of €29m to the company.
The hospital is a high-cost business to run, with expenses coming to almost €50m in the last published financial year. Up to €31m of this was accounted for by operating costs, with staff costs coming at €19m.
One of the big challenges the business faced when it opened was that three other privately owned hospital/clinics opened at the same time. This meant that salaries for medical staff rose and forced extra costs on the business.
Mr Fitzgerald said there was sufficient space on the existing campus for any further expansion and there was no need to develop other sites.