Press Release

Minister Lynch turns the sod on new National Forensic Mental Health Hospital

Minister Lynch turns the sod on new National Forensic Mental Health Hospital

Minister for Mental Health, Social Care and Primary Care Kathleen Lynch has today (Wednesday, 13th January 2016) turned the sod on the new National Forensic Mental Health Service (NFMHS) hospital, which will be built on the site of St. Ita’s Hospital, Portrane.

When completed, this new state of the art facility will replace the Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum. The construction of the new hospital is one of the Government’s priority projects in the Capital Investment Plan 2016 – 2020 and marks an important milestone on the path to providing a modern mental health service.

Speaking at today’s ceremony, Minister Lynch said, “This new hospital represents our modern approach to mental health. It symbolises this government’s commitment to prioritising mental health in an open and progressive manner. This commitment has been underpinned by the allocation of €120m in the HSE Capital Programme 2016-2020 to deliver this project. This makes it the third biggest health capital project being progressed by the State in the current capital plan. In turning the sod today, we can all be assured that there is no going back on this crucial project. I would like to also pay tribute to the many people who campaigned for this state of the art facility, those who still use and work in the mental health services and their predecessors.”

Ms. Anne O’Connor, HSE National Director of Mental Health said, “I would like to congratulate all involved in designing and developing this new state of the art facility, which is designed to meet the needs of our service users, family members and staff. I would also like to thank all of our staff who have worked tirelessly over many years for their commitment and hard work to bring this project to this crucial stage. This facility will be a critical component to the delivery of the full range of mental health services to the population of Ireland”.

Professor Harry Kennedy, Executive Clinical Director, NFMHS said, “This is a welcome development for people with the most severe, enduring and disabling mental disorders. The new hospital will provide a modern, safe and secure therapeutic environment. This will enable the HSE’s National Forensic Mental Health Service to work with our patients and their families to achieve their recovery.”

The NFMHS hospital will comprise of a 120 bed Adult Forensic Hospital, together with a 10 bed Forensic Child & Adolescent Unit, and a 10 bed Forensic Mental Health Intellectual Disability Unit on the same site within the St. Ita’s Hospital campus. The new facility is expected to be completed by the end of 2018. When completed, patients, their families, and staff will benefit from transferring from an antiquated building to state of the art facilities in a new modern forensic setting.

St Ita’s will continue to provide specialist services for people with intellectual disabilities, in addition to child and adolescent mental health services.


Notes for Editors

  • Planning permission for construction of the new hospital was granted by An Bord Pleanála to the HSE in June 2015 and enabling works commenced on the site last week. These works will include the erection of site hoardings, demolition of existing buildings, diversion of utility services, tree removal, construction of a dedicated access road for the duration of the build, and the rerouting of existing pedestrian paths.
  • The main construction of the NFMHS hospital is subject to a separate contract and commencement date. All works will be carried out in accordance with conditions agreed by Fingal County Council.
  • The St. Ita’s Hospital campus has been in decline for a number of years, particularly the red brick Victorian buildings. Alongside the development of the NFMHS Hospital, the HSE will prioritise the re-use, future maintenance and management of the existing St. Ita’s Hospital red brick buildings (protected structures); the ongoing maintenance and management of the Demesne landscape including the trees and woodland which are an intrinsic part of this unique landscape; and the maintenance and provision for an appropriate level of public accessibility through the site.