A PLANNING application for the new national children’s hospital on the Mater site in central Dublin is to be lodged later this month.
The development team behind the new hospital confirmed yesterday that it was pushing forward with the project, despite renewed criticism in recent weeks from retired heart surgeon Maurice Neligan and other leading doctors.
A spokesman for the National Paediatric Hospital Board said a detailed planning application for the project would be lodged in the week beginning August 16th, at which time detailed information on the plans would be provided.
The Department of Health said the project was “advancing to schedule” under the direction of the hospital board.
A detailed design brief had been finalised and the board was preparing to submit planning documents.
He declined to comment on the criticism by Dr Neligan, who last month announced he had changed his mind about the project and now opposes the development on the Mater site or at any of the existing children’s hospitals.
Writing in his regular column in The Irish Times ’s HEALTHplus magazine he admitted he had been wrong to support the plan when it was first unveiled: “I feel that neither the Mater nor the joint children’s hospitals may be best served by this proposed development on a geographically constrained site.”
Dr Neligan suggested a greenfield site with plenty of space and easy access be found as an alternative to current plans.
His stance has been supported by 25 leading medical specialists who say the placing of a national paediatric hospital in Dublin’s city centre is not in the best interest of the sick children of Ireland.
Last week, the Government included the proposed hospital in a list of priority projects that will go ahead, but dropped other healthcare projects.
Construction is due to begin next year and the completion date is 2014. The original budget for the hospital was €750 million but it is now expected to cost less.