“The decision on the Children’s Hospital by An Bord Pleanála will protect Dublin’s Future - An Taisce”

An Bord Pleanála has made one of the most significant planning decisions in its history in refusing the application by the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board for the 16 storey National Children's Hospital adjoining the Mater Hospital in Eccles St.

An Bord Pleanála refused the application on the grounds of height, scale as well as mass, and that it would contravene the provisions of the Dublin City Development Plan.

Were permission to be granted, it would "result in a dominant visually incongruous structure and would have a profound negative impact on the appearance and visual amenity of the city skyline", including O'Connell St, according to the Board.

Ian Lumley, Heritage Officer of An Taisce, stated “The decision supports An Taisce’s stance in protecting Dublin City and reflects a consistent pattern by An Bord Pleanála in refusing overscaled development in Dublin city centre over a long number of years. In effect, the Board is maintaining Dublin's predominant low-rise character and its tourism cache, upon which so much revenue depends.”

An Taisce has always supported the requirement to provide appropriate children's hospital facilities and action is urgently required. In this context, consideration of the long-standing €102m enhancement plan for Crumlin Childrens Hospital may be timely.

An Taisce is calling for greater attention on frontline staff. A great many medics are completely over-stretched as key positions are being left vacant. There must also be greater priority on securing and retaining frontline staff rather than locking ourselves into long term repayments for medical buildings which remain understaffed.

The Board’s decision itself raises serious questions as to why a State-appointed board and its professional advisers wasted so much time and money in pursuing such an unsuitable development proposal.

From ordinary visitors to film directors, attention is constantly drawn to the coherence of Dublin's skyline and its economic importance to Ireland for which An Taisce has long fought. This decision by An Bord Pleanála re-inforces that wealth base, and should help pave the way to make a proposal for World Heritage status for Dublin, providing a further boost to employment over time.

An Taisce Ends

For further commentary/clarification please contact:

Ian Lumley, Heritage Officer, An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland, 01 7077064