CONNOLLY Hospital has received the formal backing of Beaumont Hospital and the Royal College of Surgeons as the site for the new national children's hospital.
Connolly, in north-west Dublin, remains the favourite to be chosen as the location of the new hospital.The matter is expected to come before the Cabinet the week after next.
An expert group of doctors, architects and planners chaired by businessman Frank Dolphin looked at more than 40 bids and, although it did not pick a site, its analysis is favourable to Connolly.
The minister will bring his own report, based on its findings, to Cabinet where a final decision will be made.
The chances of Connolly being chosen as the site were boosted further yesterday after Dr Paul Brennan, clinical director of Beaumont Hospital and Prof Hannah McGee of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences in the Royal College of Surgeons supported it.
Beaumont Hospital has previously backed Connolly. However, its intervention at this stage is significant and signals that the proposal, backed by supporters of Dr Reilly, to build the children's hospital in Belcamp is a non-runner.
The Belcamp proposal would have seen the children's hospital built on a site north of Dublin airport with the aim of teaming it with Beaumont Hospital.
The eventual aim would be to re-locate Beaumont Hospital near the children's facility.
Both doctors, along with Connolly's clinical director Dr Trevor Duffy, said: "Our group has the capacity to deliver a fully comprehensive range of medical specialties for the children of Ireland on this site."
Both Connolly and Beaumont will shortly operate as a "a single provider of healthcare services" under one governance structure.
This contradicts claims by rival bidders, the Mater and St James's hospitals, that situating the new facility in Connolly would mean children would not have access to a wide range of medical specialties.
The statement said that the combination of both hospitals will add up to 1,142 beds.
It also pointed out that Beaumont and Connolly are teaching hospitals of the Royal College of Surgeons which is the "leading Irish and international provider of medical education, professional training and research."