Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Health Leo Varadkar to acknowledge the growing number of serious objections which are mounting in relation to the construction of the proposed new Children’s Hospital at St. James in Dublin. Deputy McGrath was speaking after it was found that An Bord Pleanála has already received three times the amount of observations and objections to the project than was received for the entirety of the similarly ill-fated children’s hospital at the Mater:
“Minister Varadkar must once and for all acknowledge that the cost of entire project which he has persistently estimated to be in the region of €650 million now stands at €740 million following information given to the Parents Forum who are opposing this profoundly misguided site selection.
That this figure, according to the Jack & Jill Foundation does not even include the Fit-Out of the Hospital is even more worrying.
Cost over-runs alone however are not the only concern.
To my knowledge An Bord Pleanála received 44 observations relating to the proposed Children’s Hospital at the Mater; while it has received 122 in relation to the St James site. This alone demonstrates that there is significant level of concern around the suitability and long term viability of the St. James Site.
I also understand however that the Jack & Jill Foundation, at the second day of the An Bord Pleanála oral hearing, successfully pressured the St. James Project Team to admit that their suggested new main entrance is subject to frequent flooding.
Similar concerns were eventually admitted with respect to the grossly inadequate parking infrastructure and access time from the M50.
With all this information present and available to him, it is an absolute scandal that Minister Varadkar is persisting with the site.
I can only say that this reckless political timidity and lack of courage is causing untold distress to families of seriously ill children who know that in the years to come, their days and months will be filled with completely unnecessary anxiety in terms of rushing their loved ones to a thoroughly unsuitable hospital,” concluded Deputy McGrath.