Campaigners claim government health committee given "categorically false" information on New Children's Hospital

The “Connolly for Kids Hospital” group have delivered a letter to the Taoiseach calling for the dissolution of both the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) and the Children's Hospital Group (CHG).

Campaigners claim government health committee given "categorically false" information on New Children's Hospital

Health Minister Simon Harris speaking to the media in Dublin | Image: RollingNews.ie

A group advocating for Ireland’s new national children’s hospital to be located in Blanchardstown have called for two of the main boards overseeing the development to be disbanded.

The “Connolly for Kids Hospital” group have delivered a letter to the Taoiseach calling for the dissolution of both the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) and the Children's Hospital Group (CHG).

The CHG is one of seven hospital groups established as part of the acute health sector reform programme while the NPHDB is responsible for overseeing the building of the hospital. 

The letter, sent to the Taoiseach last week, claims information presented by both groups to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health regarding the future success of the hospital plan was “incorrect and misleading as well as categorically false in many instances.”

Planning permission has been granted for the new hospital on the site of St. James's Hospital in Dublin City Centre - however some campaigners feel the location is unsatisfactory and are continuing to call for it to be moved.

The letter also objects to comments from the Health Minister, Simon Harris that campaigners have used 'offensive language' as the debate over the site continues to cause controversy.

“We can have disagreements but let’s not get into the gutter and attack the bona fides of the people involved in the project,” he said last week.

Consultant Jimmy Sheehan, a member of the group behind the letter, said Minister Harris’s comments were “highly, highly insulting."

"We feel we know what we are talking about in that we are highly informed as we've spent our life in healthcare," he said.

"We are dealing with a minister who himself said he knew nothing about healthcare when he took office and he thought that was an advantage,” he said.  

Minister Harris said construction work is already underway at the St James’s Hospital site and said he is now looking forward to the facility being built as quickly as possible.

Mr Sheehan took particular issue with the suggestion construction had already begun:

The “Connolly for Kids” group claimed there is no “single justifiable reason for locating the Children's Hospital on the St. James's site” and are calling for an urgent re-appraisal of both sites.

The group also claimed taxpayer’s money is being used to fund a nationwide advertising campaign backing the St James’s site.

A spokesperson for both the CHG and NPHDB groups said it would be inappropriate to respond to the letter as it was addressed to the Taoiseach.