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'I saw Rotunda ceiling fall in 40 years ago'

CEILINGS have been collapsing at the Rotunda for more than 40 years, a former patient has climbed.

A section of ceiling falling to the ground in a corridor of the busy hospital earlier this month was not the first such incident at the Dublin maternity hospital.

Dubliner Julie Russell said a section of ceiling came crashing down onto a patient's hospital bed in a maternity ward 43 years ago.

"Reports of the falling ceiling this week immediately reminded me of another collapse when I saw a mother and baby have a narrow escape," mother-of-five Julie said.

"It was very frightening. A young mother had just got out of her bed to feed her baby when a whole corner section of the ceiling came crashing down onto her bed.

"It was the blessings of God she wasn't badly injured. She got bits of plaster in her hair and the baby was covered in dust. The nurses whipped the baby away for checks but there were no injuries," said Julie.

Julie said the collapse happened at the beginning of January 1968. She had given birth to her son Derek on New Year's Eve.

Julie and her husband William were living in Johnstown Park, Glasnevin, Dublin when their second child Derek was born. They moved to Trim, Co Meath, seven years ago.

This week, the Master of the Rotunda Dr Sam Coulter-Smith spoke about a collapse of a section of ceiling in a corridor of the 254-year-old hospital on July 7 outside busy operating theatres. Luckily, no one was using the passageway during the incident.

Engineers carried out checks on similar ceilings in the hospital and declared them safe.