Press Release

Announcement of the composition of the Review Group into the National Paediatric Hospital

The Minister for Health Dr James Reilly has today (Friday, 16th March, 2012) announced the make up of the Review Group to consider the decision of an Bord Pleanála to refuse planning permission for the National Paediatric Hospital. The 9 person group will be chaired by Dr Frank Dolphin who was appointed by Minister Reilly in the immediate aftermath of the decision by an Bord Pleanála.

Commenting on the announcement of the membership of the Review Group Dr Frank Dolphin stressed the quality of the persons chosen. “I welcome the selection of eminent professionals – people who bring a weight of knowledge and balance to a very important process. The group is acutely aware of the crucial nature of this work and is committed to providing recommendations to the Minister for Health in the time scale set.”

Please find below, biographies of the group members and the Terms of Reference for the group which were agreed by the Cabinet last week.

Membership and biographies of Review Group to consider the decision of an Bord Pleanála to refuse planning permission for the National Paediatric Hospital

Dr Frank Dolphin (Chair)

Frank Dolphin MA. PhD. AFBPsS. C.Psychol. FMII.

A native of Birr, Co Offaly, Dr Frank Dolphin is the chairman of Rigney Dolphin, a successful services business with centres in Waterford and Derry.

He attended UCD, where he completed a PhD in Psychology. Dr Dolphin worked as a clinical research psychologist at the Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street and later as consulting Psychologist to St Joseph’s Clonmel, working with children in residential care. He lectured at Trinity College Dublin and in Waterford Institute of Technology in Psychology and Consumer Behaviour.

Dr Dolphin is a Registered Psychologist with the Psychological Society of Ireland a Fellow of the Marketing Institute and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society.

In 1990 he established Rigney Dolphin initially providing strategic change and HR consultancy services to multinational companies. The company grew to provide a range of Business Process Outsourcing services for companies in the public and private and health sectors. It was one of the first companies to receive the Deloitte ‘Best Managed Company’ Award in 2008 and received the award for four consecutive years.

In August 2010 the Minister for Health and Children appointed him Chairman of the Health Service Executive. In December 2011 he stepped down as chairman.

He is a member of the Board of Governors of Waterford Institute of Technology. He is a former Chairman of The Children’s University Hospital, Temple St., and served on the Board of Governors of the Mater Hospital. He is also a former President of Waterford Chamber of Commerce.

Mr Simon Clear B.A. Dip. T.P. MIPI , Town Planner

Simon holds a degree in Geography and Economics and is a qualified Town Planner with 35 years professional planning experience, particularly in the area of development assessment and appraisal and is a Corporate Member of the Irish Planning Institute.

He has held planning posts with the State Planning Authority of South Australia, Kildare County Council, Dun Laoghaire Corporation, Dublin County Council and An Bord Pleanála.

As a Senior Inspector with An Bord Pleanála from 1988 to 1999 he encountered proposals for the entire range and scale of housing, industrial, business and other developments. He has considerable experience in handling public hearings, legal and strategic, planning and development issues at the highest level.

Simon has particular expertise in retail planning strategy and was a member of the Government Steering Group responsible for direction of the preparation of the Retail Planning Guidelines. He has assessed or prepared a number of the major retail proposals throughout the country and has assisted local authorities and Shannon Development in the assessment of planning applications for retail, tourism and industrial development projects. As part of multi-disciplinary teams, he has been engaged in the preparation of statutory Town Plans, Local Areas Plans, public / private partnership Action Plans, Masterplans, EIS preparation; the joint Cork CIty and County Retail Strategies, Housing Strategy and National Roads projects.

Simon Clear acted as Extern Examiner for DIT on the graduate and master level courses in sustainable planning and environment for a number of years and has been engaged to provide high level peer review of EIS and SEA for several planning authorities.

Mr Michael Collins Senior Architect:

Michael Collins founded the practice (MCA) in 1988. He qualified as an architect in the College of Technology Bolton Street in 1967, having previously studied mechanical engineering. Through his interest in building technology generally, Michael has developed a reputation for inventive and practical solutions which in turn has resulted in a large number of projects where high technical ability is required. He has completed complex hospital projects, sound recording and television studios as well as stud farms and a large number of office buildings.

Michael has been very active in his profession and has been elected to various Government bodies and agencies including the Building Regulations Advisory Body, the Multi-Storey Buildings Task Force, the Fire Services Council and the Construction Industry Strategic Review Committee. He was an active member of the Irish Architectural Archive, the International Union of Architects and Architect’s Council of Europe. He has been an active member of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland for most of his career and has served on various committees and on Council. He was elected RIAI President for 1986/87.

Mr John Martin, Senior Planner

Mr Martin is a Senior Planner with many years experience. He is recently retired.

Principal Planning Adviser, Dept. of the Environment, Community and Local Government (2002 – 2011):

Main functions included:

  • Advising on new legislation, particularly the 2010 Planning Act
  • Preparation of planning guidelines for local authorities
  • Liaison with regional and local authorities, particularly in Dublin and Cork
  • Implementation of EU Directives

Deputy City Planner, Dublin City Council (1994 – 2001):

  • Responsible for overall management of up to 4,500 planning applications p.a.
  • Involved with major urban regeneration projects in Temple Bar, Smithfield, and Dublin docklands
  • Helped establish the Digital Hub project in the Liberties

Senior Planner, Dun Laoghaire (1987 – 1994):

  • Dealt with redevelopment of 70-acre sites at St. Helen’s, Booterstown and Carysfort College, Blackrock
  • Dealt with development of major projects in Dun Laoghaire (Pavilion and Bloomfields sites)
  • Member of Review Group which recommended marina development in Dun Laoghaire Harbour

Senior Inspector, An Bord Pleanála (1984 – 1987):

  • Responsible for reporting on planning appeals in Cos. Meath and Monaghan

Professor Owen Smith

Professor Owen Patrick Smith

MA, MB, BA Mod.(Biochem.), FRCPCH, FRCPI, FFpathRCPI, FRCPEdin, FRCPLon, FRCP Glasg, FRCPath, DHMSA, Hon FTCD

Professor of Haematology , The University of Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Consultant Paediatric Haematologist, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital,, Crumlin, Dublin 12,

Professor Smith is a Consultant Paediatric Haematologist at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Dublin, and is Professor of Childhood Blood Disorders at the University of Dublin, Trinity College Dublin. Since returning from postgraduate training at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, London (5 years) in the early 1990’s he has devoted the last twenty years of his career to caring for neonates, children and adolescents with cancer and blood disorders in terms of basic science, clinical research and patient care.

The co-author of more than 300 research original articles, letters, books, book chapters and papers, Professor Smith is a Fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. Royal College of Pathologists, and the Royal College of Physicians of Dublin, London, Glasgow, Edinburgh. He is a member of numerous associations and societies, including; the Medical Research Council Childhood Leukaemia Working Party, the International Berlin Frankfurt Munster Study Group for Childhood Leukaemia, the United Kingdom Haemophilia Centre Directors Organisation, the European Paediatric Network for Haemophilia Management, the United Kingdom Children’s Cancer Group, the Paediatric Haematology Forum of the British Society of Haematology, and the European Paediatric Network for Severe Congenital Neutropenia.

Professor Smith conducts knowledge exchange activities through his extensive record of invited talks at international meetings. He has served as an expert on many national and international advisory panels for various paediatric disease groups. He plays a leadership role in national and international committees which formulate best practice guidelines for delivering care to children and adolescents with rare disease, especially in the assessment / treatment of childhood and adolescent haematological malignancies. He is an international advocate for children with rare diseases and for expanded access to expensive drugs.

In 2001, he was appointed project director to build the National Paediatric Haematology & Oncology Centre (NPHOC) at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin (OLCH), the only facility in Ireland for the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with cancer and blood disorders. The NPHOC Child Healthcare Programme has been the single biggest development in Irish Paediatrics with approximately 100 new child health-care professionals being employed and a new state-of-the-art facility being built at OLCH. The programme was completed in September 2006. He continues to play a leadership role within the NPHOC and have been instrumental in funding expansion of Consultant, junior medical & nurse staffing, and re-configuring roles and services within this internationally renowned department.

In 2009 the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board and its project team invited him to become a consultant stakeholder in the planning of the new Children’s Hospital of Ireland with particular emphasis on becoming an active member of their model of care committee.

Professor Smith was awarded the Graves Medal by the Royal Academy of Medicine and Health Research Board in 2001 for his research into novel therapeutic strategies in meningococcal sepsis that had received international acclaim. In 2006, Professor Smith was awarded the St Luke’s Medal by the Royal Academy of Medicine and St Luke’s Hospital for his work on improving outcomes in adolescent cancers with specific reference to the haematological malignancies.

He was admitted to Honorary Fellowship of Trinity College Dublin (the oldest and most valued tradition of the University) in 2009.

Prof Jonathan Hourihane

Prof Jonathan Hourihane


Profesor Jonathan Hourihane has been Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health in University College Cork, Ireland since 2005. He graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 1987. He obtained his Doctorate in Medicine from the University of Southampton in 1996, for his thesis entitled “Clinical and immunological features of peanut allergy”. He achieved FRCPCH in 2005, FRCPI in 2008 and FAAAAI in 2011. He is co-PI of the BASELINE birth cohort study ( He is Secretary of the Irish Association of Allergy and Immunology. He is a board member of Molecular Medicine Ireland (

Prof B. G. Loftus (Brendan Gerard Loftus)

Prof B. G. Loftus (Brendan Gerard Loftus)


Prof Loftus is Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences at NUI Galway. He is also a consultant paediatrician and has worked as Prof of Paediatrics at NUI Galway. He has published extensively in the area of paediatric medicine and is a member of a number of Learned Societies:- Irish Paediatric Association, British Paediatric Association, Irish Perinatal Society, Paediatric Research Society, European Paediatric Respiratory Society, Irish Thoracic Society, European Respiratory Society, Irish and American Paediatric Society. He has been appointed to a number of public bodies and organisations and is currently vice-Dean of the Faculty of Paediatrics of the RCPI.

Professor Clodagh O’Gorman MB BCH BAO MRCPI MSc

Professor O’Gorman is Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Limerick and Consultant Paediatrician at the HSE Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Limerick Professor O’Gorman’s research interests include: paediatric obesity, paediatric diabetes and paediatric endocrine disorders. Prof O’Gorman is a member of the RCPI. She graduated from Galway University and completed her paediatric training in Ireland and Toronto.

Louise Shepherd MBA MA CPFA – Chief Executive, Alder Hey Children’s NHS Trust

Ms Shepherd joined Alder Hey on 10th March 2008 from Liverpool Women’s NHS Trust where as Chief Executive she led it to Foundation Trust status, the first in Merseyside. Formerly deputy Chief Executive and finance Director at the Countess of Chester NHS Trust for five and a half years Louise first joined the health service in 1993 as Director of business development at Birmingham Heartlands and Solihull NHS Trust.

A Cambridge University graduate in 1985, Ms Shepherd trained as an accountant in local government before spending four years with KPMG in Birmingham as a financial and management consultant to the public sector.

Ms Shepherd is very active in Liverpool outside of the health service, in particular as vice chair of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society.

Trust Committee Membership and Role:

  • Member of the Clinical Quality Assurance Committee
  • Member of the Resources and Business Development Committee
  • Attendee of the Audit Committee
  • Attendee of Transformation Committee

Previous Press Release on this issue.

Review Group to consider the decision of An Bord Pleanála to refuse planning permission for the National Paediatric Hospital

06 March 2012

The Minister for Health has decided to establish an independent group to consider the implications of the decision of An Bord Pleanala (ref 29N.PA0024) received on 23 February 2012 to reject the planning application for the proposed construction of a national paediatric hospital on the site of the Mater Misericordiae Hospital.

Today the Cabinet agreed to the following Terms of Reference for the Review Group, which is to be chaired by Dr Frank Dolphin.

The Minister and the Government have re-affirmed their commitment to the construction of a national children’s hospital as a Government priority.

The terms of reference of the group are as follows:

To inform itself about the planning considerations and processes affecting this project.

To consider the different options which now exist for progressing the construction of a national children’s hospital having regard to –

  • Government policy on the delivery of health services, including accessibility and paediatric services in particular and best clinical practice considerations,
  • the cost and value for money considerations of the different options,
  • the likely timelines associated with the different options,
  • the implementation risks associated with the different options.

To advise him, in the light of these considerations, on the appropriate next steps to take with a view to ensuring that a national paediatric hospital can be constructed with minimal delay.

To report to the Minister within 56 days of the first meeting of the group.