TWO TDs and a local councillor are among those who have made appeals to An Bord Pleanála against Dublin City Council’s decision to approve plans for an eight-storey private hospital in the grounds of St James’s Hospital.
Apart from its height, the main issue they have raised is that the scheme by Synchrony Properties Ltd would involve demolishing the hospital’s late 19th-century chapel, which had been proposed for listing as a protected structure.
The proposed facility is one of a number of co-located private hospitals intended to be built in the grounds of existing public hospitals under a Government plan announced in 2005. None of the five then planned has yet been built.
Mary Upton TD (Labour), who is one of the appellants along with her party colleague councillor John Gallagher, said yesterday she was appalled the chapel had not been listed by Dublin City Council.
She said it was “a slap in the face for democracy”. “I’ve put in a request under the Freedom of Information Act for all exchanges between the council officials, the hospital and the developers.”
Last September, Dublin city manager John Tierney told Mr Gallagher in a written reply to questions on the case that the council’s south-central area committee had agreed in May 2008 to initiate the process for listing the chapel as a protected structure.
“The process was initiated, but a report on submissions was not brought to a full city council meeting as is required”, he said. “The process was halted, as the city council was made aware of a proposed development on the site of the chapel.”
Noting that St James’s Hospital was “an important national facility”, he said the location there of a new private hospital would be an important development for the southwest inner city, creating employment both during construction and its operation.
The other appellants against the council’s decision include former lord mayor Catherine Byrne TD, the Rialto Residents Association, four private citizens and Synchrony Properties Ltd, which is appealing against some of the planning conditions.