Ireland is one step closer to having a new world-class children’s hospital as plans are lodged with An Bord Pleanála

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar TD & Minister of State Kathleen Lynch TD reaffirm the importance of this project for the health of Ireland’s current and future generations

Staff and users of Ireland’s three existing children’s hospitals help to inform the plans for their new hospital as they look forward to coming together under one roof by 2020

€650m investment to deliver significant economic and social gain to the local community where it is based

August 10, 2015: The planning application for the new children’s hospital will be submitted to An Bord Pleanála (at 16:00) today.  This follows the appointment of an internationally acclaimed Design Team last August. Overseen by the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB), the design team led by renowned children’s healthcare architect firm, BDP with Irish partners O’Connell Mahon Architects (OCMA) has carried out intensive work over the past 12 months.  The plans submitted today include those for the new children’s hospital as well as for the two Paediatric OPD and Urgent Care Satellite Centres planned at Tallaght Hospital and Connolly Hospital.

There were over 1,000 hours of engagement and consultation with staff from the existing three children’s hospitals, the Clinical Leads in Paediatric Specialities, with families, young people and children who are former or current users of the service, as well as with residents from the local Dublin 8 area.  This extensive consultation process has led to the development of a world-class building which has been designed to enable staff to deliver the best possible clinical care for children and young people, while also seeking to provide a pleasant environment for staff and families.

Minister for Health, Mr. Leo Varadkar T.D. said: “Today is an important milestone on the road to building our long-awaited world-class new National Children’s Hospital. The plans are spectacular and the design is iconic. It will be the largest single investment in healthcare in Ireland ever and subject to planning permission work will be well underway in the new year.”

Minister of State, Ms. Kathleen Lynch T.D. said: “There has always been a determined focus by this government to bring this crucially important project to fruition. When constructed, the new Children’s hospital will be the most significant health project of this generation.”

Eilísh Hardiman, Chief Executive of the Children’s Hospital Group said: “Today we are one step closer to having a new world-class children’s hospital in Ireland. The designs for the hospital and satellite centres submitted to An Bord Pleanála are wonderful and have been optimised to ensure that services are delivered in the best possible environment, so that we can ensure the best clinical outcomes for children and young people.  It is another step on the road to bringing services in the three children’s hospitals together under one roof for the first time.”

Speaking about the submission of the planning application, John Pollock, Project Director, NPHDB said: “This has been a challenging and exciting process. To have the opportunity to oversee the design and build of a facility that will positively impact on the lives of children and their families for generations to come is quite overwhelming yet extremely rewarding. Over the last number of months we have listened to the needs of the staff in the hospitals and integrated them with the needs of families and children to deliver a design that works for all.  At all times, we have also taken the views and concerns of local residents into account and believe that we have designed plans for a building of which everyone can be very proud.”

Support from the existing children’s hospitals:

In parallel with the planning process, engagement will continue with the staff of the existing three children’s hospitals as the focus now moves to the interior design and integration of services to be provided in the new children’s hospital and the two Paediatric OPD and Urgent Care Satellite Centres. This follows extensive consultation on design elements with staff across all disciplines over the past 12 months.

Commenting on the process in the lead up to the planning application, David Slevin, CEO of Tallaght Hospital said: “The proposed Model of Care will greatly enhance the care provided to the paediatric community in Dublin in line with international best practice. The Paediatric team at Tallaght Hospital is providing an integral role in developing the integration process with the other two children’s hospitals. We are very excited at Tallaght about the development of the Paediatric OPD and Urgent Care Satellite Centre on our campus here in Tallaght Hospital.”

Mona Baker, CEO, Temple Street Children’s University Hospital said: “The teams at Temple Street have had the opportunity to input and feedback on the NCH designs at every stage of the process. As a result we feel a strong sense of ownership of the new hospital and pride in the final designs that are being submitted for planning permission today. We are now beginning to look beyond the initial design phase towards the programme to integrate the three existing national children’s hospitals. The idea of moving to these really ‘state of the art’ new facilities on a shared campus with St James’s Hospital is now becoming a reality, and it can’t happen soon enough for us.”

Dr Sean Walsh, interim CEO of Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin said: “There will be exceptional opportunities on the campus to partner in the area of clinical research as well as to further develop existing clinical synergies. We are closer to the vision of developing a medical campus of excellence in Dublin 8 which will benefit everyone for many decades to come.”

Comments from Current Users of the Service:

Louis Roden is Chairman of the New Crumlin Hospital Group and father of two children who have Cystic Fibrosis. Mr. Roden today commented on the milestone achieved: ““We have been campaigning for a new children’s hospital for more than a decade. There is now momentum behind this plan and it is critical that this pace is maintained. The staff in Crumlin are wonderful but the facilities are limited. We need to be in a modern building that is custom built to deliver the medical advances that are now available. The only thing that a parent of a critically sick child cares about is getting the best possible care for their child, and that means having the children’s hospital located on a shared campus with an adult teaching hospital. St James’s Hospital is one of the leading teaching hospitals in Ireland. There is no other location for the new children’s hospital as far as we are concerned.  We have a fantastic design, the site is right – now let’s just get it built!”

Support from St. James’s Hospital and the Coombe:

Lorcan Birthistle, CEO, St. James’s Hospital said: “The development of the new children’s hospital on a site shared with St. James’s, together with the subsequent redevelopment of the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital, provides a truly unique opportunity within the Irish Health system to establish a comprehensive Health Campus of international standing dealing with the most acute health needs of children, young adults and adults. Today marks a significant step forward in this direction.”

Dr Sharon Sheehan, Master / CEO, Coombe and Infants University Hospital said: “We believe that the decision to build the new children’s hospital on a shared campus with St James’s Hospital and a fully redeveloped Coombe Woman and Infants University Hospital is the optimal model of care for all women and their babies, particularly the high-risk mothers and sickest infants, in line with international best practice.”

Community Gain

A central objective for the NPHDB is that there is an economic and social benefit for the Dublin 8 residential and business communities. A study is being carried out to audit the existing skills and labour available in the area. This is part of a process that will identify the scale and type of educational and employment opportunities which will arise with both the construction phase and the operational phase of the hospital.  The commitment is to maximise the community benefit during both the construction and operational phases of the hospital. The NPHDB has consulted with 23 community based organisations to help inform this process. Full details of plans in this area will be available in the autumn but the NPHDB has already confirmed that it will be one of the first organisations in the country to include social clauses in the construction contracts for the build phase of the project.

These clauses will stipulate the minimum number of apprenticeship placements that need to be provided by any successful tenderers as well as the minimum number of people from the l community that will be employed during the build. The NPHDB also plans to work with local schools and community groups to raise awareness of the employment opportunities that the hospital will bring over the next few years. A programme of education and training will be put in place to help ensure that the relevant skills are available within the community by the time the hospital is operational.

Commenting on this aspect of the project, John Pollock, Project Director said: “This project will have a transformational impact on the local Dublin 8 community. We are putting in place a programme to ensure that we maximise all potential opportunities that the hospital’s presence in this community can deliver. A steering group, chaired by Gordon Jeyes of Tusla, has been established to oversee this work which includes representatives from Dublin City Council, Educational Training Boards, St. James’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital Group others, This is a central part of our work and we are determined that the hospital will not only have a lasting impact on the health and wellbeing of children and young people but also on the health and wellbeing of the Dublin 8 community.”


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Notes to the Editor:

  • For more information visit
  • #OurChildrensHospital
  • Photocall with Minister Leo Varadkar to be held at 11:30am today, details have been sent to your picture desks, imagery will be issued by Maxwells Photo Agency.
  • Editor’s Notes
  • A four storey building – rising to seven stories at its highest point above ground – sits comfortably within the existing St. James’s Hospital campus, the first views of the hospital being an oval pavilion set in a therapeutic rooftop garden. The garden is an integral part of the design as it will give a tangible sense of this being a special place – one for children and young people, elevated above the world of adults.
  • Below the elevated garden, the elements which will be distinguishable immediately are the main entrance and the outpatient clusters. These project out like welcoming arms on either side of a generous entrance piazza, drawing visitors towards the hospital’s front door. The curved form of the ward pavilion reveals itself most clearly above the main entrance, extending down to ground level as a double-height glazed screen that allows the piazza and entrance concourse to feel like an uninterrupted public space. Once inside, visitors will find themselves in what instinctively feels like the heart of the hospital – a four-storey high space that visually connects all the building’s principal levels.
  • Further Detail about the Design
    • A multi-level day-lit concourse connects the main entrance with the hospital’s other principal public entrance from the LUAS, a 2-minute walk away. The concourse extends down to a lower ground level providing access to a number of clinical areas as well as the main visitor car park situated below the entrance. On the west side of the concourse, overlooking the South Circular, the outpatient clusters are grouped within four wings arranged around three garden courtyards. Reception and waiting areas are placed between the wings, open to the concourse on one side and the gardens on the other. On the east side of the concourse state-of-the-art clinical facilities include 42 beds in critical care unit and 18 neonatal critical care units, Operating Theatres incorporating interventional radiology suites and an Emergency Department with its own dedicated access.
    • Shops, cafes, restaurants and information points line the concourse, facing you as you come through the main entrance. The shape of the ward oval above is intimated by the curved west side of the atrium, reminding visitors of the building’s distinctive external form. The oval-shaped garden, a modern reinterpretation of the courtyard at the heart of the nearby former Royal Hospital at Kilmainham, forms a secure, sheltered environment for ten of the hospital’s thirteen wards. The wards provide 380 single in-patient rooms, with ensuite bathrooms and an overnight bed for parents. Other family accommodation includes 60-bed facility near the entrance