‘Connolly Hospital is the best place for sick kids’

by Ian Begley
0 comment

A CHILDHOOD cancer survivor has warned that the proposed children’s hospital site in the city centre will have a detrimental effect on children having to travel from outside Dublin.
Dr Eamonn Faller was diagnosed with cancer when he was just 14 years old, and says one of the most visceral memories he has is “crawling” through Dublin traffic on his way to Crumlin hospital twice a week.
The Galway-born doctor, who previously worked at St James’s hospital, was speaking on behalf of the Connolly 4 Kids Hospital (C4KH) campaign group at Leinster House last week.
For the first time, campaigners calling for the new children’s hospital to be built at Connolly in Blanchardstown were given the chance to express their views at Leinster House.
The C4KH group were granted a public meeting with the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health, who also heard the views of the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board.
Speaking at the committee, Dr Faller said that an extra hour in traffic for children travelling from outside Dublin would only add to the misery they already face.
He said: “Upon the most visceral memories I have is being spread out on the back seat of my parents’ car, feeling nauseous and weak, and having to crawl through Dublin traffic wishing every moment of that car journey would go away.
“This is something not particular to me – it is something that will resonate with families up and down this country. There is no doubt that an enormous amount of patient hardship would be saved by locating the hospital in Connolly instead.”
Aisling McNiffe, from Kildare, also told the Oireachtas committee about her experience of hospitals as a parent of a child with special needs.
She said: “Children like mine cannot go on a Luas or bus. My boy is in a wheelchair, on a pump, and requires oxygen, so public transport is out of the question.
“This hospital is for the sickest of children – it’s not for kids with broken legs. You need the M50 hard shoulder – St James’s does not offer that. Parking is also very important.
“Can you imagine having nowhere to park? You can’t just park in Crumlin and walk up – you know what the weather is like in Ireland. If you have a vulnerable child, he can’t get wet.”
Meanwhile, Jack & Jill chief executive Jonathan Irwin stood outside the gates of Leinster House during the meeting, as he wasn’t invited to attend.
Claiming to be “locked out”, Irwin said that he was very hurt not to have been in attendance.
He said: “I am also so disappointed that the Health committee is not calling on Senator James Reilly to explain his rationale for choosing St James’s as the location [for the new hospital] – a location that never did make sense.
“They’ve got to take note of the parents’ voice and the 60,000 signatures on the Connolly For Kids Hospital petition against the St James’s site, and I wish our friends in that group the very best this morning in presenting their case.”

Related Articles