Dispute over new hospital continues as Newstalk poll shows strong opposition to chosen site
The chosen site for the new national children’s hospital is “not up for debate”, the CEO overseeing the project has said.
Eilish Hardiman, CEO of the Children's Hospital Group, told Newstalk’s Pat Kenny Show that its decision to build the facility on the St James’s campus in Dublin came after much deliberation.
She was speaking after a new poll indicated that 73% of the Irish population believe that site is the wrong location for the hospital.
The Newstalk/Red C study found that only 20% of people surveyed agree with the selection of the site.
An Bord Pleanála granted planning permission for the hospital in early May. The development will see all children’s hospitals currently operating in Ireland being brought under one roof.
Dr Eamon Farrell, a childhood cancer survivor currently working at St James’s Hospital, told the Pat Kenny Show that he was greatly concerned about the location of the new facility.
Dr Farrell, who underwent seven months of intensive chemotherapy as a teenager, criticised proponents of the site for dismissing concerns about access and parking issues.
“The idea of a child undergoing chemotherapy who is sick and nauseous and weak hopping on a Luas line is at best inconvenient and an absolute ordeal, and at worst it’s very dangerous,” he said.
"These kids can pick up infections, which to a normal person might not be that serious, but to them might mean a week in hospital.”
But Ms Hardiman told the same programme that many claims made about the decision were “myths”.
She said the site was unlikely to be flooded and that a new “mobility plan” was being designed to support families travelling to the hospital.
Allegations that co-location with the adult hospital at St James's will offer little benefit to patients are incorrect, she said.
Ms Hardiman added that the number of parking spaces would be based on the total number of young patients.
She said spaces could be pre-booked and that a separate area would be reserved for emergency drop-offs.
The full findings of the poll are available to read here.