Tuesday 20 March 2018

Hospital group spend €115k on fees and meals

THE National Children's Hospital review group spent more than €115,000 evaluating the suitability of the Mater site.

The group that was set up by Minister for Health James Reilly spent money on accommodation, food, refreshments -- which totalled €17,701.

The Department of Health was charged €95,507.80 for professional fees.

And they paid out €2,250 for the hire of a helicopter to obtain aerial views of the other sites under investigation.


Room hire and teleconference expenses came to €5,022.66. Any additional miscellaneous fees -- which included transcription and courier costs -- amounted to €354.94.

In total the group spent €115,586.87.

And following this extensive review, the group unanimously agreed that the Mater site was the most suitable for the new development.

But last month, An Bord Pleanala shot the proposal down. The planning board said that the scheme was too large for the infrastructure in the area and transport could not support the large numbers going to the hospital.

Mr Reilly has now tasked the group with an alternative proposal with a deadline of 56 days.

It is not clear whether this group will be entitled to additional expenses for the new review.

A representative for the Department of Health was not available at the time of going to print to clarify this.

Mr Reilly said that it was important that the hospital -- a €650m project -- be built as soon as possible and said that "everything is on the table" about where the hospital can now be built.

"We're very cognisant of the fact that this is a hospital that will serve us for at least 100 years or more and that whilst we want to build it as quickly as possible we don't want to rush it," Mr Reilly said.

A number of options have already been mooted and he said that the possibility of building the hospital on a greenfield site could not be ruled out.

But Minister Reilly denied that he was leaning towards this option.

Now new proposals have come forward including a site submitted by a group of farmers in north Dublin.

The Coombe hospital has also suggested a site between it and St James's Hospital in Dublin city centre.

"We've a wonderful opportunity here to do something that will serve our country and children of the country well for the next 100 years and let's do it right.

"But let's do it quickly," the Minister added.


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