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Sunday 16 December 2018

Backers of Mater child hospital bid fighting to stay in race

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

BACKERS of the Mater as a location for the new National Children's Hospital are making a desperate bid to remain in the race by contacting all ministers and their advisers.

The Mater site, in Dublin's north inner city, was the chosen location for the children's facility until its planning application was turned down in March because of the scale the project.

Since then up to 40 bids have been reviewed, with Connolly hospital in Blanchardstown, north west Dublin, emerging as a new front runner and the Mater in danger of losing out.

A decision is to be made on the location in the coming weeks following consideration of a review carried out by a group chaired by businessman Frank Dolphin.

The Mater bid is backed by Temple Street children's hospital and the Rotunda maternity hospital.

Prof Brendan Kinsley, chairman of the Mater medical board, told the Irish Independent a letter signed by 138 consultants from the Mater, Temple Street, and Rotunda has been sent to the ministers, their junior colleagues and advisers.

It outlined the advantages of building a tri-located children's hospital at the Mater and the positive links it would have with the adult hospital, along with a new relocated Rotunda.

"The last planning application for the Mater was a complete mess in that it was allowed to go up to 17 storeys. That that has since been addressed," Prof Kinsley added.

He put the blame for rejection of the planning application on the State-appointed board.

The only bidder which has true expertise in what it takes to develop the hospital and "has had to live in the real world" is the Mater, he insisted.

Connolly did not have the same range of specialties, so adult services would have to be rearranged, causing disruption.

Dr Trevor Duffy, a consultant rheumatologist in Connolly, said yesterday its backers believed it was the best location for several reasons including the motorway and public transport it offered as well as nearly 150 acres of State-owned land.

It is understood that Connolly emerged as around €130m cheaper than other proposers.

It is backed by Beaumont hospital which is also on the northside of Dublin.

A separate proposal, put forward by supporters of Health Minister James Reilly -- which has never been publicly unveiled or costed -- has been made to build the children's facility at a site in Belcamp,near Dublin airport.

Irish Independent

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