The European Investment Bank (EIB) has confirmed it is to lend Ireland €490m to support construction of the new Children’s Hospital in Dublin.
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.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: "The new Children’s Hospital is the largest single healthcare investment in our history. It will transform the way in which we deliver care to sick children and their families.
"This loan from the European Investment Bank, the largest loan it has provided to Ireland to date, will allow us to build a world class hospital which will be a centre of paediatric research and medical education, as well as a safe and secure environment for families of sick children. It will be state of the art.
"Every child will have a single room. There will be parent accommodation, a garden and a school.
"It will be born digital with the newest equipment and technology.
"I would like to thank the European Investment Bank and its President Werner Hoyer for its commitment and support in upgrading Ireland’s infrastructure and helping us to build the health service we deserve."
The proposed paediatric OPD and Urgent Care Centre, Tallaght | Image: newchildrenshospital.ie
Health Minister Simon Harris added: "This project will enable a transformation of acute paediatric health care services in this country.
"Hundreds of jobs will be created during construction, and once open, care will be provided in 39 different specialties.
"The record EIB support reflects the quality of Ireland’s new children’s hospital and we are pleased to welcome Dr Hoyer and his colleagues to the site of the hospital to mark this occasion."
Construction of the new hospital is currently underway. When it opens in 2022, the hospital will employ 3,700 people.
It will provide 380 individual inpatient rooms, each with a parent bed, 93 day care beds, 22 operating theatres and a 53-unit family accommodation facility, as well as four acres of outdoor gardens and courtyards.
Concourse concept of the new Children's Hospital | Image: newchildrenshospital.ie
The hospital is expected to be the first acute hospital in Ireland to use electronic health records and play a key role in the future digitalisation of the Irish health sector.
The EIB will finance the hospital through the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) with the construction being overseen by the Department of Health.
The EIB has been lending money to Ireland since 1973, and follows EIB support totalling €70m for construction of 14 primary health care centres agreed in May 2016.
The European Investment Bank is the world’s largest international public bank, and is owned by European Union member states.