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NAMA in talks with HSE over sites near children's hospital

THE National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) is in negotiations with the Health Services Executive (HSE) about the possible sale of two development sites close to the site of the new children's hospital.

The HSE has a deadline of 5pm today to exercise an option to buy the former John Player Factory and Old Bailey Gibson Yard sites adjacent to the Coombe Maternity Hospital.

The sites are also located in the vicinity of St James's Hospital, where the new National Paediatric Hospital (NPH) will be constructed.

Last night sources close to the potential land deal played down suggestions that the sites may be needed for the future development of the NPH which is being built on the St James's campus, one of the busiest acute hospitals in the country.

The floor space needed to accommodate the state-of-the- art children's hospital is expected to equal that of all adult accommodation on the current St James's site.

The Irish Independent has learned that formal negotiations have been under way between NAMA and the HSE for the last month.

NAMA does not comment on individual cases.

The HSE refused to comment on the matter despite repeated calls and email correspondence.

Under the NAMA Act, the toxic loans agency can offer development land to a state body, but only if it is sold at a commercial rate after an agreed valuation.

The building of the new children's hospital at St James's is the largest health capital project in the history of the State. Due to be completed in 2019, planning permission for the mammoth project is due to be submitted next year.

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