“Roisin Shortall should distance herself from James Reilly’s comments on the national children’s hospital and seek guarantees on other key north-side capital projects”
Concerned northside Councillor Paul McAuliffe has called on the new junior health minister and local TD Roisin Shortall to reassure local people that three important capital projects will be delivered. The National Children’s Hospital on the Mater site, Metro North and the Ballymun re-housing project are all critical capital projects which are needed and which will create local employment. However the programme for government gives no specific promises on these key projects and Dr James Reilly seems to looking for others sites for the new National Children’s Hospital.
Both Metro North and the Ballymun re-housing project are essential to complete the transformation of Ballymun which the previous government committed over one billion euro to achieving. The Programme for Government does make commitments to regeneration projects but only mentions the Limerick plans.
Similarly and perhaps more worryingly are the comments by the new Minister for Health Dr. James Reilly that he will review the proposal for a National Children’s Hospital on the Mater site. This is despite a review already taking place only a few months ago by the new CEO of the National Children’s Hospital Board.
The original independent McKensey Report recommended that the new children’s hospital should be linked with an adult hospital. This was supported by the majority of paediatricians with the arguments only beginning when the site was picked. Medical politics seems to be getting in the way with Tallaght and Crumlin unhappy that their sites were not selected.
There are also rumours, referred to recently by Prof Drum, that the new hospital may not be built at all and instead each exiting hospital will be given an improvement plan. This would be a catastrophe for Irish children.
Politics is about making tough decisions and once a project begins it would be crazy to go back to the drawing board, particularly after significant amounts of public money have already been spent on plans for the Mater site.
With no senior minister at the cabinet table, Dublin North West’s voice must be heard. I call on the junior Minister for Health and local TD Roisin Shortall to distance herself from the comments which Mr. Reilly has made and to seek guarantees on other key north-side capital projects.