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Sunday 9 December 2018

Mater boss appeals to Kenny over hospital site

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

THE head of the Mater Hospital is appealing to Taoiseach Enda Kenny to choose the location of the children's hospital based on medical grounds -- not planning.

St James's Hospital is believed to have edged ahead of Connolly Hospital as the Government's choice for the children's hospital, provided planning concerns can be overcome on the south city site.

But Professor Brendan Kinsley, chairperson of the Medical Board at the Mater Hospital, says their new bid deals with the planning concerns from the first proposal.

The new bid has less floors and more land to build it on than the previous plans for the site.

He says his hospital was chosen by an independent, international team of medical experts as the best placed to house the children's hospital.

The original proposal for the Mater site was rejected for planning permission by An Bord Pleanala, prompting the process to be reopened.

However, Prof Kinsley says the Mater is the only location that can deliver an adult hospital, maternity hospital and children's hospital all in the same place.

He also says the Mater has addressed the planning problem and points out the hospital board were not involved in the original plan, which was put together by the National Children's Hospital Development Board.

"Tri-location is the principle. We have addressed the planning issue. We have brought down the height of the proposed new development and increased the footprint by a third," he said.

Prof Kinsley said the decision must be taken based on "what is best for children" and not "the lowest common denominator" of planning.


He also says the Mater adult hospital is a brand new facility, delivered on time and on budget.

"I am appealing to the Taoiseach, Tanaiste, Minister for Health and Cabinet to make the decision based on international best practice," he said.

Prof Kinsley says the Mater was picked by experts in a process that involved all the rest of the major hospitals, including St James.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and Health Minister Dr James Reilly met last week to discuss the shortlist.

Government sources claim no final decision has been taken but the trio are not due to meet again before the matter comes to Cabinet.

Dr Reilly will bring a memo to Cabinet, most likely next week, with a recommendation on the chosen location.

Irish Independent

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