Taoiseach Enda Kenny denies commissioning Children's Hospital report

Wednesday 24 October 2012 23.55
An Bord Pleanála rejected plans for the hospital on the Mater site earlier this year
An Bord Pleanála rejected plans for the hospital on the Mater site earlier this year

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said that neither the Government nor any individual minister has commissioned another report into the location of the National Children's Hospital.

Mr Kenny was answering a question from Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin during Leaders' Questions in the Dáil.

He said: "I have no interest ... in the speculation, or the rumour or the innuendo that goes on.

"Did the Government Commission another independent report in regards to the Children's Hospital? The answer to that question is no.

"Did any minister commission other independent reports into any of these locations? The answer to that question is no."

Mr Kenny said there was one report and that was the Dolphin report.

He said the new hospital is a fundamentally important project and that it is only right that the Government considers it carefully.

Sinn Féin's Gerry Adams said the Government was 18 months in office and there had been two reports, a planning refusal and still no decision on the location of the hospital.

Mr Kenny said a decision on the hospital was expected within a fortnight.

Mr Martin asked whether former Dublin City Council Manager John Fitzgerald had been approached for advice on the issue.

The Taoiseach said any such contacts were informal and within the terms of the Dolphin report.

He said: "It is right and proper that the Department of Health with the minister would ask questions about aspects of the Dolphin report. That was in an informal way, as Mr Fitzgerald himself has commented.

"Don't be running away with the illusion Deputy Martin that Minister Reilly or any other minister or the Government went off and commissioned an individual or individuals to do other independent assessments of the sites and locations that were mentioned in the Dolphin report."

The Department of Health has written to the 41 parties that made submissions to the Dolphin review into the location for the new hospital, asking if they are happy for their submission to be published.

The letter, written on 18 October, says that after the decision is made by Government on the location, submissions may be made available on the department's website.

It also says submissions may be sought under Freedom of Information legislation and "consideration will be given to releasing the records in accordance with the legislation".

The letter says the Review Group report was presented to Mr Reilly on 8 June.

The Irish Medical Organisation has said it wants to see the hospital built.

IMO President Dr Paul McKeown said the issue of the best location was one for experts, but he said the hospital needs to be built in the interests of children's care.

Meanwhile, Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte said he was "completely bemused" by speculation about new reports into the location of the hospital .

"As I understand it, what Eamon Gilmore has been doing is what would happen in any event in a coalition government, that comprises two separate parties," Mr Rabbitte said.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Pat Kenny, Mr Rabbitte dismissed the idea "that Eamon Gilmore is going out inspecting sites, or getting involved in the detail".

While the minister said he was disappointed about the delay in announcing details of a new site, he said that he expected the two-week deadline for a decision to be kept.

When Minister for Health James Reilly presents his proposal, Mr Rabbitte said that he did not see Cabinet colleagues "getting involved in second guessing the site".

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