Residents to lodge objections to new National Children's Hospital
Residents living near the proposed new National Children's Hospital are planning to lodge several objections to its construction.
Up to 100 representatives of a large number of residents' associations attended a public meeting to voice their serious concerns about the planned project on the St James's Hospital campus in Dublin.
The residents crowded into Saint James's parochial hall to express their reservations about a feared dramatic increase in traffic congestion, parking problems, and pollution if the project gets planning permission.
The meeting was organised by the New Children's Hospital Alliance, a group representing a large number of health professionals and parents of sick children who oppose the choice of the St James's site. The Alliance want the new hospital to be located close to the M50 on a large site at Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown.
A spokeswoman for the Alliance, Rachel Lavin (22), a former childhood cancer patient representing young people, said the meeting with residents identified shared concerns.
"The local residents share a lot of the same concerns as the Alliance concerning accessibility, traffic problems, parking, noise, and pollution. They share our view that the site is not right for children themselves nor for residents," she told the Herald.
"We'll fight this plan to the end," she said at last week's meeting.
Among the concerns of residents were the question of how tunnelling might affect homes in the vicinity, the use of a helipad at the hospital, and the overall height of the building.
Local resident Cathy O'Connor said: "I've been living here for 25 years and I find it incredibly difficult to get in and out of my house, so it beggars belief that the politicians think it will be accessible to all the children of Ireland."
Locals said they feel they are being "shafted" and claim both Government and developers are "fudging" issues.
Mary Kearney, of the South Circular Road residents association, said: "We all agree that we need a children's hospital, but St James's isn't the right place for it."
The hospital, which has yet to get planning permission, is the largest health infrastructure project in the history of the State.
Eilish Hardiman, chief executive of the Children's Hospital Group, said in April at the unveiling of the design plans: "We will continue to engage and consult with all key groups as we finalise all aspects of this great hospital providing services on a local, national and all-island basis."
Project director John Pollock said at the time: "We are currently engaged in continuous consultation with employees of the existing hospitals, with residents, with patient advocacy groups and with family representatives.
"They are giving us significant input, feedback and advice," he added.