Friday 10 September 2010

200 a day sign petition for hospital site review

AN ONLINE petition to review the chosen location for the €700 million National Paediatric Hospital is attracting up to 200 signatures per day.

The petition comes as the HSE revealed it is to switch its planning application from Dublin City Council to An Bord Pleanála’s fast track strategic infrastructure division, with discussions to open on September 29th.

A spokesman for the HSE said engagement would begin with An Bord Pleanála on September 29th, which is one day after new provisions in the 2010 Development Act bring such hospitals within the definition of strategic infrastructure.

The spokesman said much pre-planning discussion had already been undertaken with Dublin City Council. An Bord Pleanála said the first issue to be assessed is whether the hospital does come within the scope of the bord’s jurisdiction.

After that, pre-planning discussions can in theory take as little as a week, but in practice have taken up to 13 months.

He said the time schedule was very much “developer driven” as the process was dependent on developers lodging papers and coming back with additional information in a timely fashion.

According to the petition organisers, there is still time to review the “scandal” of the proposed location on the Mater Hospital car park in Eccles Street.

Ray White, a parent with experience of the paediatric services over a number of years, said the inner-city location, which was too cramped, would add to difficulties faced by parents coming to the hospital from around the country. The group is not advocating any particular site but believes somewhere near the M50 would be better.

Mr White said the petition could be accessed through thenewchildrens where people can register support. Referring to Mater site, he said “it was a great scandal what has happened here”.

Irish Times

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