Answers required -Reilly , Varadkar

General Election 2020 : We demand answers from Fine Gael before the Election.Fine Gael claims that clinical considerations were paramount in choosing St James’s. Is Fine Gael trustworthy? The New Children’s Hospital Alliance(NCHA) has TWO Questions arising from the interview recorded below. The public deserves answers to them both from Senator James Reilly, FG,  running in the Dublin North constituency and from the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar running in the Dublin West constituency.

Question 1

You claim an Expert Group of both National and International People  advised you that St James’s was the right site for the new children’s hospital – Who was that group?  Name it, publish its report.

Question 2

Could you name even one  clinical condition or one of the ‘Super Specialists’ you claim are in St. James’s and whose presence on a shared site is required to prevent children having to go abroad for treatment?

Thank you.

Interview: Newstalk 106,  Moncrieff Show, 23rd June 2016. 

[ This interview was the only time the public was informed by any politician as to why St. James’s was chosen by the Cabinet on the 8th November 2012 for the site of the new National Children’s Hospital when Senator Reilly was Minister for Health]

Sean Moncrieff:   Senator James Reilly is still with us, we have been talking obviously about the Health Service. And we’ve had a few texts in here on a kind of similar theme. Please ask Senator Reilly why he chose the Wrong Site at St James’s for the Children’s Hospital? Blanchardstown is more accessible, faster, cheaper and has the Rotunda going there. No one can explain this Medical Speciality Reason either, can he?

Senator James Reilly (Fine Gael):   First of all I didn’t choose the Wrong Site. I chose the Right Site. As advised by an Expert Group of both National and International People .

I will actually explain what the primary concern here was. We have a small population, North and South, for some of the more rare conditions. What we wanted to achieve was an economy of scale here, where we would have sufficient numbers to deal with some of the rarest of problems, which currently require our children to go abroad for treatment.

Now if you’re ill with a condition as an Adult, it’s distressing. But when you’re a Child, it’s particularly distressing, and you want your family around you. So the more people, more children we can treat in this country, that was the goal. So the, being able to bring the Experts, the Super Specialists, who deal with Adults and Children, for these very rare conditions, was a primary concern, and the Primary Clinical Driver. 

Em certainly, you know, the arguments made around access, and at a Greenfield Site. I mean you might as well go to a Greenfield Site, no disrespect to James Connolly. Because you know, James Connolly it’s an excellent Hospital, but it’s a Model 3 Hospital, it doesn’t have the Super Specialists in there. The bulk of them are in St James’s. The site is plenty big enough, plenty big enough.

And it has excellent transport connectivity. Now people talk about a sick child, you’re not going to use public transport. That is never the case anyway, because a sick child is always brought in by an Ambulance or parents in a hurry. But the main traffic in any large Hospital like that, is Staff. And the fact that Staff can get in and out in a way that doesn’t cause all sorts of traffic problems, because the infrastructure is there, is a huge consideration.

We went through this back and forth and back and forth. And at the end of the day, I am from Fingal, and Blanchardstown is in Fingal, so I mean you know Fingal would have been attractive to me. The Mater was attractive to me. But at the end of the day, the best, the best decision, on the best of advice was St James’s.

And I believe now what we have to do is, and I know there’s a petition out there with 60,000 people saying, you know, move it. Let’s please not revisit this. There are children who are in trouble today. This hospital needs to be built as quickly as possible, not delayed by another two years of wrangling.

The decision is made. The money is there. Let’s built it as quick as we can. So that we can truly say that those dark days, and how we treated children in the past, and God knows they were dark, are done. END.