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Planning experts warn over children's hospital

Experts have warned a scheme to build a new national children's hospital could be at risk if the Government fails to include a planner on its special review group.

Health Minister James Reilly will next week appoint the group, which will consider alternative options for the development, after An Bord Pleanala rejected plans last month.

The Irish Planning Institute (IPI) has argued that architectural and clinical experts alone may not have sufficient knowledge to help deliver a strategy for the e650m development.

And president Brendan Allen said it would be extraordinary if planners were left out of the review process.

"Forward planning is the key to the successful delivery of infrastructure projects as it means that the hard decisions in relation to the principle are taken early on before millions are spent on detailed design," said Mr Allen.

"In an era where public money is limited, forward planning is the less costly area of planning and needs to be the focus of planning for future strategic infrastructure development."

An Bord Pleanala rejected the Government's plans for the 15-storey building on the Mater Hospital site in north Dublin, saying the 74m-high building over 100,000 sq ft was too large.