Delay on children's hospital decision

Sarah Stack

A TWO-week extension has been granted to a group of experts reviewing plans for a long-awaited children's hospital after more alternative sites were offered.

Almost 20 possible locations across Dublin have been put forward after the development of the facility at the Mater site in Dublin's north inner city was refused.

The group, chaired by Dr Frank Dolphin, was set up by Health Minister Dr James Reilly in March to examine why An Bord Pleanala rejected plans for the ¤650m hospital.

It had been due to report back next week, but Dr Dolphin requested the extension as he was still receiving a large volume of submissions and information.

Meetings were also ongoing with a wide range of groups and individuals, including hospitals making submissions based on proposed tri-location, representatives of the existing children's and maternity hospitals, stakeholders and parents.

Eight acres at the site of the old Phoenix Park racecourse was among the latest sites offered. Property development company Flynn and O'Flaherty claimed the build would be ¤210m cheaper than the plan for the Mater site.

Other possible locations are near St James's Hospital and the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital, Connolly Hospital, a greenfield site near Dublin airport offered by farmers, and one near the Red Cow roundabout and Newlands Cross.

A proposal to locate the national children's hospital on the extensive Grangegorman site in Dublin 7 is also being backed by Dublin city council's former chief planning officer.

Meanwhile a scaled back plan for the Mater site is being examined after An Bord Pleanala refused permission for a 16-storey glass building.