Fianna Fáil has proposed an emergency amendment to the legislation on critical infrastructure that would allow the National Children’s Hospital to proceed as planned.


Speaking during Leaders Questions in the Dáil this morning, Fianna Fáil Deputy Leader Éamon Ó Cuív called on the Government to make a simple amendment to the Planning and Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Act whereby the children’s hospital would be allowed to go ahead, as it is a long-awaited development in the interests of sick children.


Deputy Ó Cuív said: “This hospital is needed more urgently than ever in view of the serious crisis in the existing paediatric hospitals.  The refusal of An Bord Pleanála means one can only appeal to the High Court on a point of law.  Otherwise, we must start again on the tortuous road of seeking permission again from the local authority and then going back to An Bord Pleanála.  I do not believe the children of Ireland should be asked to wait such a protracted period for the national children’s hospital that was envisaged.


“I urge the Tánaiste to give serious consideration to the proposal I have made.  If there ever was a piece of critical infrastructure that is necessary and should not be held up for small issues, this is it.  It would be a very simple change.  This would avoid the long road back and an interactive process could be entered into with An Bord Pleanála to resolve the issues the board has with this planning application.  It would expedite the urgent provision of a children’s hospital for the children of Ireland.”


Deputy Ó Cuív secured an agreement from the Tánaiste Éamon Gilmore that the Government would consider the Fianna Fáil proposal.


Speaking afterwards, Deputy Ó Cuív said: “We do not have time to waste on this. This issue is above politics and must be sorted as soon as possible. Fianna Fáil will fully support the Government in any effort to bring forward a simple piece of legislation that would resolve this outright.”