Sunday 9 December 2018

Two sites now in running for children's hospital

Fionnan Sheahan and Eilish O'Regan

A memo is to be brought to Cabinet on the location of the national children's hospital with the choice whittled down to two sites.

St James's Hospital in south inner city Dublin and Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown in north west Dublin are the final two candidates for the location of the children's facility.

There was growing speculation last night that St James's Hospital could emerge as the eventual chosen site, despite the risk that it could face planning objections.

If this is so, it will mean that Health Minister James Reilly's original intention to recommend Connolly Hospital will have been overtaken after the intervention of Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore who is known to favour St James's.

The decision to bring the memo to Cabinet came after Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Mr Gilmore and Dr Reilly held a private meeting yesterday to discuss the options.

The meeting in Government Buildings follows revelations in the Irish Independent that Mr Gilmore was carrying out his own research into the various locations.

Mr Kenny, Mr Gilmore and Dr Reilly will not be holding another meeting, indicating a decision has been agreed in principle by the trio.

Connolly Hospital emerged as the favourite following an analysis of various sites carried out by an expert group, chaired by businessman Frank Dolphin.

The decision to narrow it down to two sites means that the Mater hospital, which was the original chosen site, has lost out.

Last night, a Government spokesman confirmed the meeting did take place but a spokesman for Dr Reilly was uncontactable.

The government spokesman said: "The Minister for Health today briefed the Taoiseach and Tanaiste on his evaluation and analysis of the findings of the Dolphin Report."

Irish Independent

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