Health Minister admits need to 'reflect' on name of new children's hospital

Simon Harris says he's heard "a lot of commentary" about the proposed Phoenix name

Health Minister admits need to 'reflect' on name of new children's hospital

Simon Harris. Image:

The Health Minister has admitted they will have to re-think the name of the new national children's hospital.

They had planned to use the name 'Phoenix' - but a hospital with the same name in the US has threatened legal action.

The Irish Independent reports that Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Arizona has written to Simon Harris, with hospital officials saying that they will be "compelled to pursue all available legal remedies” if the project proceeds with the name.

The name had also drawn criticism at home, with some commentators highlighting concerns over the mythical concept of a phoenix 'rising from the ashes' being associated with a hospital.

Today, Minister Harris acknowledged that the name will be reconsidered.

He observed: "The priority for parents, the priorty for Government is to get on and build the hospital.

"I've heard a lot of commentary about the name, both domestically and internationally. I think it's important that we reflect on the name, and I will make a decision in terms of the name in advance of the legislation that will bring the new children's hospital entity into being in 2018."

It comes as the European Investment Bank (EIB) confirmed it is to lend Ireland €490m to support construction of the new hospital.

This is the largest ever financial support the EIB has given to Ireland, and is its first backing for a hospital here.

The record 25-year loan was confirmed during a formal signature ceremony at Government Buildings.

Reporting by Sean Defoe, Stephen McNeice and Jack Quann