Tuesday 25 October 2016

Charity boss is preparing his objection to hospital plans

Jonathan Irwin
Jonathan Irwin

The head of a children's charity has engaged a planning professional to draw up an objection to the plans for the new National Children's Hospital.

Jonathan Irwin, of the Jack and Jill Foundation, has been a vocal opponent of plans to locate the €650m facility at the site of St James's Hospital.

Mr Irwin has championed a site adjacent to Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown as a better alternative.

The grounds for his objection will include access, parking and security.

"The one thing we have done right is our motorway systems and now we are saying 'no let's not take advantage of this, you have to come all the way in to town'," he told the Herald.

Another problem with access is the new plan to add a third hospital to the site, he said.


Minister for Health Leo Varadkar recently announced that the Coombe maternity hospital will also be moving to St James's and Mr Irwin believes that will bolster the view that the site is not suitable for the children's hospital.

"It makes our case so much stronger. There's no way you can accommodate thousands more people travelling in to that area of the city every morning."

Mr Irwin also contends that the 1,000 parking spaces planned for an underground car park at the hospital falls below international standards.

"It doesn't make sense at any level. We've no objection to the building design - we think it's a shame that such a good building is going into such a cramped area with no room for expansion.

"We may not win, but we can't just sit there and let it happen because adults want it and not children. This is about politics and not about sick children."

Some local residents have also voiced their intention to submit objections to the hospital, which is expected to take three years to build.

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