Local residents have voiced concerns at the impact of heavy construction traffic in Portrane and Donabate villages to build the proposed National Forensic and Mental Health hospital at the site of St Ita’s (above) in Portrane. Picture: Ophelie Ferlier

THE HSE has said that a traffic management plan will be implemented for the duration of the construction activity of the proposed National Forensic and Mental Health hospital at the site of St Ita’s in Portrane.
The local community raised concerns about the HSE’s plan to bring construction traffic through Portrane and Donabate villages. They fear congestion and the damage heavy construction traffic could cause to the village streets, as happened during construction of the Donabate/Portrane sewage plant, which was completed in 2012.
Once the hospital has been built, the residents of the Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum will be moved to the Portrane complex. The Portrane site was selected rather than building on the Dundrum site so as not to disrupt patients while construction is in train.
Following a public meeting in October, the HSE provided additional information in which it rejected the suggestion of residents that a temporary alternative route be constructed through Ballymastone, saying that it would cost up to €1m to do so.
However, Cllr Paul Mulville (Ind) pointed out that it cost about €830,000 to resurface the Portrane Road following the construction of the sewage plant. And, as a stipulation for planning permission, the HSE will be required to fund any resurfacing works that result from this development. He said that, on this basis, constructing a new road would be roughly cost neutral.
According to local Fianna Fail representatives, the concerns raised by local residents are being completely ignored.
Senator Darragh O’Brien and councillors Darragh Butler, Adrian Henchy and Brian Dennehy have written to An Bord Pleanala outlining the impact that construction plans will have on residents, schools, local clubs and local facilities.
They are also calling for a separate haul road to the site to minimise the disruption.
Senator O’Brien said the hospital would take at least three years to build and that under the current plan, residents face three years of chaos.
He said: “At the moment, there is just one access point to the site over a very narrow railway bridge and past four local schools.
“The route is not equipped to take the levels of heavy construction traffic [that will be required], and there is no doubt that it will impose a threat to safety in the community.”
A HSE spokesperson said: “The possibility of an alternative construction access route across Fingal County Council lands was not raised during the pre-application planning discussions, and thus is not included in the planning application as these lands are owned by a third party and did not form part of the Environmental Impact Study carried out by the HSE.”
The spokesperson went on to say that traffic studies carried out by its design team identified that there was capacity within the existing road network to accommodate the traffic that would be created during construction.
“A traffic management plan will be implemented for the duration of the construction activity of the proposed development,” said the spokesperson.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health said any intervention in the statutory planning process would be inappropriate.

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