PLANS for the new children's hospital at St James's in Dublin are at "preliminary stages" with An Bord Pleanala.
The construction of a 384-bed in-patient and 54-bed daycare National Paediatric Hospital is years away from completion.
But the first 'pre-application consultation' has begun with the planning board.
A representative for An Bord Pleanala explained that no application had been lodged but confirmed that the preparatory stage is under way.
The National Paediatric Hospital Development Board and Dublin City Council have both begun a consultation process prior to the lodgment of a planning permission.
This means the board and council have approached An Bord Pleanala with a clear list of what is required before the construction of the hospital development.
"On a scale of one to 10, we are at one in terms of the amount of consultation that has happened so far," a representative said.
It is expected that the cost will reach more than €500m.