Belfast Telegraph

Kenny denies hospital report claims

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has denied asking for another report into the much-debated location of the National Children's Hospital.

Amid fears of further delays, the Taoiseach dismissed reports that former Dublin City Council manager John Fitzgerald had been appointed to carry out more independent research into where the long-awaited hospital should be built.

"Did the Government commission another independent report? The answer to that question is no," Mr Kenny said.

"Did any minister commission an independent report into any of these locations? The answer to that question is no."

Labour leader and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore earlier insisted he completely trusted health minister Dr James Reilly to bring the hospital plan to Cabinet, despite researching the project himself.

Mr Gilmore revealed his officials had examined different options so he had the facts before Dr Reilly brought the final decision to Government.

The Taoiseach insisted only one report had been commissioned - the Dolphin report - which was launched earlier this year after An Bord Pleanala rejected controversial plans to build a 15-storey building on the Mater site in north Dublin.

Former Health Service Executive chief Frank Dolphin spearheaded the expert group to consider different locations for the state-of-the-art facility - including St James' Hospital in the south inner city and Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown.

The group, made up of planning experts, doctors and architects, did not rank the different sites considered, but left the health minister to consider observations made in the report.

He is expected to make his own recommendations to Cabinet within weeks.

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