Friday 2 December 2016

Thousands of hearts break over location of new children's hospital

Only in Ireland would news of planning approval for a new children's hospital be met with sorrow, writes Rachel Lavin

Rachel Lavin

Published 01/05/2016 | 02:30

Overdue: An artist’s impression of the atrium in the new National Children’s Hospital, to be built beside St James’s
Overdue: An artist’s impression of the atrium in the new National Children’s Hospital, to be built beside St James’s

Of the 112 submissions to An Bord Pleanala last November, 87 were objections, with the oral hearings inundated with parents, past-patients and paediatricians lining up for their chance to plead for a rejection. Following that, tens of thousands signed a petition asking the government to change the hospital site to the 150-acre greenfield M50 site at Connolly as part of the grassroots Connolly for Kids Hospital campaign. Outrage is widespread in the children's hospital communities.

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So as Leo Varadkar and officials posed for photos, celebrating what they called a "great day for children", around the country the grief of families with sick children was palpable. As word spread on social media, comments circulated saying "I'm so angry", "This is so wrong" and "Is there a way to stop this?".

Why has the building of a new children's hospital, one so desperately overdue, become so vociferously opposed?

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