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Children's hospital at the mater? No thanks

THE majority of Dubliners do not want the National Children's Hospital to be located at the Mater Hospital.

The controversial decision to locate the €650m facility in Drumcondra was made by Mary Harney, and most people think that decision was wrong.

Only one in four do favour the site chosen under Mary Harney's stewardship with the rest split between a number of locations across the city.

An Evening Herald/Lansdowne Millward Brown opinion poll has found that most people want the facility to be built on a greenfield site.

The results should cause some pause for thought for the new Health Minister as the programme for government states that the hospital "will be built" but does not specify a location.

The extensive survey of over 1,000 people shows almost 70pc of people would prefer to see the hospital located away from the Mater Hospital

Campaigners have repeatedly cited issues with the proposed location in the north-inner city due to heavy traffic, parking restrictions and a lack of space for expansion.

Even though not a single brick for the new hospital has been laid, it has already cost taxpayers in excess of €30m in contracts, salaries and planning.



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The ongoing row over where the 440-bed hospital should be built has been described as a turf war between the three hospitals that will be brought together under one roof -- Temple Street, Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin and the National Children's Hospital in Tallaght.

It emerged today that Taoiseach-in-waiting Enda Kenny has already been briefed on the possibility of locating the facility on a site off the M50.

Fine Gael's Dr James Reilly, who is tipped to be Health Minister, said that the issue "has to be fully reviewed with all the facts on the table".

Of those surveyed, 26pc said that they wanted the hospital built at "a completely new site".

Support for this proposal was highest among those aged over 50 and between 18-24 years.

As would be expected those most supportive of the Mater come from the northside. Just 9pc of southside residents said they believe it should be built at the Mater. Tallaght and Crumlin hospitals got a much more positive response from those polled south of the Liffey.

Overall some 24pc of Dublin residents said that they thought that Crumlin's Children's Hospital could be redeveloped into the National Paediatric Unit.

Another 17pc spoke out in favour of spending the funds at Tallaght Hospital, which already incorporates the National Children's Hospital.

Massive doubts still hang over the development as planning permission for the Mater site has still not been secured.

kdoyle@herald.ie