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Bid to save hospital church fails

A 120-year-old church in the grounds of St James's Hospital, Dublin, is to be bulldozed to make way for an eight-storey private medical facility.

An Bord Pleanala has approved the controversial €250m plan despite the protests of residents and politicians.

The 19-century church had come to close to being listed as a protected structure by Dublin City Council but the process was halted mid-flow.

An original application to demolish the church was sanctioned by the council last January but the case was referred to An Bord Pleanala following protests from locals.

Now the chapel, which has significant associations with the Easter Rising, is to be demolished.

In its place, Synchrony Properties intends to erect a 196-bed private hospital that will employ 400 people during construction. It is expected to offer around 545 full-time jobs on completion.

The scope of the project involved was considered by An Bord Pleanala when making its decision to allow the church demolition.

It said the development of a "high quality hospital" justified the demolition.

But planners warned that the developers must pay an insurance bond of €1m.

This is to ensure work on the hospital begins as soon as the church is demolished.

Synchrony will build the private hospital under the Government's co-location scheme.