The Minister for Health is refusing to confirm reports that a site adjacent to Connolly Hospital has been recommended as the suitable site for the National Children’s Hospital.
Speaking on national radio earlier this week, Minister James Reilly said the Dolphin Group, an expert review group headed by Dr Frank Dolphin, have presented their report to his department, who are currently reviewing it and hope to go with it to the government “by the end of the month”.
The Dolphin Group were set up to advise the government on options available for building the proposed National Children’s Hospital after it was refused by An Bord Pleanala to be built at the Mater, because it would constitute overdevelopment at that site.
According to Reilly, the report gives “several recommendations” and he has to “make a recommendation arising out of those options”.
He went on to say that the report did not make a recommendation, and it had been prepared to tell them what the “best way forward” for the children’s hospital was, and to give the “best options”.
When asked to confirm rumours, which indicate that the site for the NCH is no longer at the Mater but rather Connolly Hospital, Reilly said, “that depends on who you are listening to”.
“It could be going anywhere.
“I mean, the bottom line here is that all of these things are still in play. The Government will make the final decision. This is a hugely important decision for the country.
“It is one of the main commitments in government and it is also something that is going to stand for our children for the next 100 years, so of course we want to make the right decision, and we want it built as expeditiously as possible.”
Asked if it could be delayed as much as three or four years if it goes to a completely new site, Reilly said: “No, absolutely not”.
He continued to state that “no decision has been made.” A number of local politicians have urged the Minister to publish the report.
Fianna Fail’s David McGuiness called on the Minister for Health to “immediately” publish the Dolphin Report, saying the publication of this “long-awaited report will allow for discussion and decision on this vital piece of health infrastructure.”
“I am strongly of the belief that on planning, cost, accessibility, demographics, the McKinsey Report criteria, and land availability for expansion, Connolly Hospital scores highly,” said McGuinness.