Children's hospital plans unveiled
The ambitious design for Ireland's new children's hospital has gone on public display after being lodged with planners.
Developers hope to start construction on the 15-storey landmark building in Dublin next spring and accept the first patient by the end of 2016.
Harry Crosbie, chairman of the development board for the new Children's Hospital of Ireland, said it was committed to building the best children's hospital in the world. "The children of Ireland deserve nothing less," he added.
An international expert group recently unanimously backed the Mater Hospital in Dublin's north inner city as the best site for the facility - which will merge the existing children's hospitals at Temple Street, Crumlin and Tallaght.
The application to An Bord Pleanala can be seen at www.newchildrenshospitalplanningapplication.ie. It will be on view at the offices of An Bord Pleanala or Dublin City Council for seven weeks from July 27 during public consultations.
The new hospital will boast 392 beds, 53 day care beds, 13 operating theatres, overnight room-in beds for parents and a family resource centre. Developers also want to create a number of play areas, a hospital school, external gardens and courtyards. An ambulatory facility at Tallaght will also accommodate an additional 28 day-care beds and three-day theatres.
However, a Government decision on the 450 million euro state funds needed to build the hospital will not be given until September. A philanthropic fundraising drive will also be launched to raise some of the additional 200 million euro needed to foot the bill.
Eilish Hardiman, chief executive of the development board, said a number of measures have been identified to address concerns over access, including the development of a four-lane access road at the front of the hospital and opening a second access point to a new four-storey underground car park.
"We have worked hard over the last two and a half years in developing plans for a world-class children's hospital that will be a legacy to our children," she said.
Mary O'Connor, of support group Children in Hospital Ireland, added: "The new hospital will also make an incredible difference to all the staff who will have the most up-to-date facilities, equipment and environment to provide care for sick children and their families."