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Ireland's biggest-ever infrastructure scheme signed-off

Words: Roger Milne

The Irish Government has given final clearance for the construction of the country’s new €1 billion national children’s hospital in Dublin.

The scheme is the state’s largest ever infrastructure project. It should be operational by the end of 2021.

The construction tender for the facility on a site at St James’s Hospital in Dublin has been awarded to BAM Ireland, which is expected to begin work “within weeks”.

The projected cost of the flagship hospital has risen dramatically from €400 million in 2012 to more than €1 billion now.

Even after St James’s campus replaced the Mater hospital as the chosen site, there has been controversy surrounding the choice of location. Groups have formed campaigns for the hospital to be in Blanchardstown, or close to the M50.

Critics of the scheme have claimed the wrong site was chosen, citing poor access and a location in a very congested part of Dublin where parking was “woeful”.

There were also security issues.

However, a number interested parties have voiced support for the project, including the New Crumlin Hospital Group and the Children’s Hospital Group.

The project also involves construction of satellite centres in Connolly Hospital and Tallaght Hospital.

Meanwhile, controversial plans to build a new €300 million maternity hospital at the St Vincent's University Hospital campus at Elm Park in Dublin on a site owned by the Sisters of Charity, who control the St Vincent's Healthcare Group, appear to be back on track.