TWO hospital centres for treating children will be built in Dublin by 2016.
One of the facilities will be built on the grounds of Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown and the other will be on the campus of Tallaght Hospital.
Costing a total of €50m to build, both facilities will be so-called "satellite centres" of the new national children's hospital, which is to be built on the site of St James's Hospital in the south inner city.
Minister for Health James Reilly announced the two locations yesterday, and said they will be ready more than two years before the national hospital is built.
The locations' announcement followed an analysis of criteria such as child population, levels of deprivation, accessibility, clinical advantages, suitability of the site and cost.
It means that Mater Hospital, which was to be the original site for the children's hospital, has lost out on what might have been a "consolation prize", as has Beaumont Hospital, which would be mostly used by Minister Riley's constituents.
Children can be admitted to emergency units in the three existing children's hospitals at Crumlin, Temple St and Tallaght, but this will end when all three merge to be part of the new hospital at St James's.
The proposed urgent care sites were given the go-ahead by the Cabinet yesterday and followed consultation with the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board overseeing the new children's hospital.
He said each centre will provide consultant-delivered urgent care, with observation beds where children can spend up to six hours as well as diagnostics such as x-rays.
"The centres will open from 7.30am and 10pm," said Mr Reilly. "The vast majority of young people treated will be treated and discharged. Critically-ill and injured children will be stabilised by appropriately trained staff and transferred to the main site, using a retrieval and transport service if required."
Mr Reilly estimated the emergency centres will see around 50,000 admitted annually.
Planning permission has yet to obtained for the centres, but both sites are regarded as likely to get the green light.