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Sunday 20 August 2017

Rabbitte had 'doubts' from start over location

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

A SENIOR minister admitted yesterday he had always had doubts about the choice of the Mater Hospital site for the national children's hospital.

Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte said he had "serious doubts" about the site because of concerns that the city centre location would cause difficulties with access, parking, transport and other issues.

Health Minister James Reilly has insisted the hospital will go ahead on the site in Dublin's north inner city, but on a scaled-down level.

In the aftermath of this week's rejection of the plan by An Bord Pleanala, Dr Reilly was adamant the hospital would be built in the lifetime of this Government, and said the Mater site was not rejected "on the grounds of access or transport".

Mr Rabbitte is a TD for Dublin South-West and the mooted alternative site for the hospital in Tallaght falls in his constituency.

He said the overriding imperative now was to build the hospital as quickly as possible. Dr Reilly has asked Dr Frank Dolphin, the former chairman of Temple Street Hospital, to examine the decision and report back to him within weeks.

Architects and planners are expected to work on alternative proposals for the Mater site, which could include removing training facilities from the plan to reduce its scale.

Irish Independent

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