Concern over hospital location

An artist's impression of the aerial view of the new national children's hospital.
An artist's impression of the aerial view of the new national children's hospital.

An Inishowen mother has joined the chorus of opposition against the location of the new national children’s hospital.

While the news of the new hospital itself has been welcomed, its location has not been. Campaigners say it would be best located at the James Connolly Hospital off the M50 motorway, with arguments that the St James site is in a congested city area which will lead to parking and access issues, particularly for parents not from Dublin.

Majella and Jack Donaghey.

Majella and Jack Donaghey.

Majella Donaghey from Buncrana, whose son Jack was diagnosed with Leukemia last April and regulary attends Crumlin Hospital, agrees that the location is unsuitable.

She told the ‘Journal’ that not only do they have to make the an eight hour round trip from Inishowen to Dublin - “ a long journey with a child who is sick,” they are already regularly faced with parking issues when they reach Crumlin Hospital. Majella said while the new hospital was very welcome, the location would not solve these parking and access issues.

Majella told how, on arriving at Crumlin, “nine times out of ten” the car park is full, so “you are left driving around looking for a space on the side streets.”

She said these streets are always “jampacked” with every space taken and cars parked on footpaths and on corners. Majella said she has every sympathy with the residents who live in the area and added how “if you’re lucky enough to find a space you usually have to walk a good distance to the hospital.” She disclosed how the St James’ site will not solve this issue as, again, there will not be enough parking. Majella pointed out that this is an even bigger issue “when you have a child in the car that has just gotten chemotherapy and feels sick. It’s just awful.”

She added how it makes her “angry” they have to travel so far in the first place to get the help their son needs to get better. She added she “can’t fault the staff” of the hospital in any way, telling how, even when wards are packed and they’re “run off their feet,” they “still make you feel special when you arrive.”

Over 50,000 people have now signed a petition calling for the hospital to be located at the Connolly, citing better access, room for further expansion, maternity co-location and green spaces, among others. See here There are also concerns a coastguard helicopter would not be able to land at the St James site.

The new national children’s hospital will include 42 critical care beds, 380 single rooms and 18 units for neo-natal care. It is expected to be opened by 2020.