Junior minister Finian McGrath has hailed a "victory" for families of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients after Beaumont Hospital sought planning permission to build a new unit for their care.
If approved, the plans will see an €11m facility for people suffering from the severe lung condition built at the north Dublin hospital.
The unit was a key demand of Independent Alliance minister Mr McGrath during talks to form the minority Government.
The planning application lodged with Dublin City Council is for a three-storey inpatient extension to the existing hospital.
It will accommodate a new 20-bed cystic fibrosis unit.
Last night, the Dublin Bay North TD and Junior Disability Issues Minister told the Herald: "It's a major victory for the families who have been campaigning for this for many, many years.
"It's a three storey inpatient unit with bathroom and en-suite showers.
"It will provide CF services for up to 40 CF patients throughout Dublin/Louth/Meath area."
He was "absolutely delighted" at the project's progress.
Plans for the CF unit were included in the Programme for Partnership Government agreed between Fine Gael and Independent TDs, including Mr McGrath, after the 2016 general election.
It said the Government "will immediately proceed to the design and planning stage for a dedicated cystic fibrosis unit at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, for inclusion in the 2017 Capital Plan review".
CF is a chronic disease that affects around 1,300 children and adults in Ireland.
People with CF are vulnerable to infections. The new unit planned in Beaumont is to have isolation facilities for patients.
Mr McGrath has previously refused to apologise for pushing for what he described "local parish pump stuff", including the CF unit and plans for a new €40m emergency department, also at Beaumont.
He said it's "part of who I am" and argued that new services will benefit patients from other areas as well.