Concerns over plans for new hospital site
RESIDENTS in Portrane and Donabate are unhappy with plans to build the new National Forensic Hospital in the grounds of St Ita's Hospital as they fear the construction period will lead to traffic mayhem.
An Bord Pleanala has granted permission for the construction of a new 120-bed facility and two 10-bed specialist units there to replace the Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum.
It is hoped that the state-of-the-art hospital will be operational by 2018.
Minister for Health Leo Varadkar said that the new hospital would be "hugely significant in terms of developments in mental health".
However, residents of the seaside villages nearby are concerned as there is only one road onto the peninsula.
An alternative haul route for the construction phase was suggested via the New Road but this was not seen as a viable option by the planning authority.
"The community is very happy in many ways to support the development at St Ita's but they are extremely disappointed at the decision after numerous submissions were made on the issue," Cllr Adrian Henchy told the Herald.
The Fianna Fail councillor said that locals were dismayed that there was to be no significant community gain from the development and added that they have serious concerns about congestion problems.
"There has been a commitment that construction vehicles will not be trying to gain access at the same time as school traffic or in the evenings but we are keen to see how this would be enforced," he added.
A meeting of the Donabate-Portrane Community Council and a number of other local groups was held on Monday night so that residents could discuss their options.
A judicial review is one of the options under consideration by locals but this course of action has not yet been decided on.