HSE moves to deal with St Ita’s traffic worries

by Gazette Reporter

THE HSE has said it is committed to the appointment of a liaison person to deal with the Donabate/Portrane community during the construction of the new National Forensic Mental Health Hospital (NFMHS) at St Ita’s campus, Portrane.
This follows a meeting between a delegation of community and elected representatives and senior HSE officials to discuss the community’s issues with the project.
Once the hospital has been built, the current 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 the build is ongoing.
For a number of months, residents and representatives have been voicing concerns about the impact construction traffic will have on their village. They suggested an alternative route built through Ballymastone to minimise congestion and the damage heavy vehicles will cause to its roads.
The local community raised concerns about the HSE’s plan to bring construction traffic through Portrane and Donabate villages, in terms of congestion and the damage heavy construction traffic could cause the village streets.
Numerous submissions were made to the planning board by residents, community groups and politicians imploring it to require the HSE to construct an alternative route, but permission was granted without this stipulation.
The HSE hopes the handover of the site will be completed by March 2018, and that the new hospital will be ready to start operating.
The 18 months from next April to October 2017 will be the busiest months in terms of construction, and subsequently the busiest for the villages and residents of Donabate and Portrane.
At the meeting, which was attended by Cllr Adrian Henchy (FF), and Cllr Paul Mulville (Ind), among others, HSE representatives said they will shortly commence phase one of the project, which is the clearing of the site.
Next April, they plan to start on the build and hope the development will be built by October 2017. They will then start the six-month process of equipping the building.
Cllr Henchy said the community recognises the importance of the hospital but said there is a need for a master plan and a vision for the whole St Ita’s site, and for the community to be fully engaged and involved in this process.
He said: “The current residents of Portrane Avenue must be better engaged with by the HSE and the empty houses on the avenue must be addressed and brought back into use.
“The current users of St Ita’s hospital, both staff and clients, must be fully consulted and recognised and their vision for the campus must be at the top of discussions,” he said.
He went on to call on the HSE as a matter of urgency to establish a community liaison officer to improve the lines of communication and fully engage with the local community.
Cllr Mulville echoed Cllr Henchy’s concerns and said the delegation was disappointed to learn that a number of conditions relating to traffic management which were stipulated by An Bord Pleanala will not be met prior to construction starting.
A spokesperson from the HSE said, “The HSE carried out a series of meetings with the local community stakeholders prior to the lodgement of the planning application for the NFMHS project. The HSE is committed to the appointment of a liaison person at the earliest opportunity.”

Related Articles