Press Release

National Children’s Hospital to go to planning on Mater site following Independent Review

Dr James Reilly, TD, Minister for Health, today (6 July) announced that the National Children’s Hospital will be located on the campus of the Mater Hospital, Dublin. This follows an independent expert review which he commissioned in May. It will now be submitted for planning permission.

The report, which carried out a detailed comparison of the costs of providing the hospital on alternative sites, and an analysis of the clinical benefits involved, is unanimous in its recommendation in favour of the existing site. It concludes that the cost of developing the facility there is similar to the costs which would be incurred if the project was provided on any of the alternatives examined. The report gives ‘unanimous and unequivocal support’ for the Mater site.

The Minister warmly thanked the members of the Review Team, which comprised clinicians/chief executives of major children’s hospitals in the UK, US and Australia and independent architectural advisors from the UK, for their hard work and commitment within a very short deadline.

The Minister reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to the project. “We have always supported the proposal to build a new children’s hospital which will provide the very best services and treatments for the children of Ireland. I am now fully satisfied that the Mater site is the right location.”

The Minister noted the Report’s view that no site provides the perfect solution and the comment of the Review Team that “the enemy of excellence is perfection”.

The Minister said: “It is time for everyone to come together and deliver this children’s hospital in the shortest possible time. The creation of a world class tertiary hospital will need the commitment of everyone, including all those involved in the delivery of health services to children and in our wider society.”

The Minister will now ask the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board to proceed as a matter of urgency with the submission of the planning application to An Bord Pleanála.

The Government will make a final decision on proceeding with the project in the context of its overall review of capital spending, which will be completed in September.

In the meantime, the Minister has called on the three children’s hospitals in Dublin to work very closely together, and to continue their discussions on forming a single governance structure well in advance of the opening of the new hospital.


The Independent Review was commissioned by Minister Reilly within weeks of taking office. The Minister said that he wanted to be sure that the best possible clinical outcomes for children could be delivered within the resources available. He also wanted clarity regarding any potential cost differential between building on the Mater site and alternative greenfield sites.

The Terms of Reference for the review were as follows:

  1. To examine and independently verify the estimated cost differentials identified in relation to building, equipping and running the proposed National Paediatric Hospital (a) if constructed on the site currently proposed and (b) if constructed to the same specification on notional alternative sites.
  2. To examine whether the potential clinical benefits, if any, of locating a Children’s hospital beside the Adult on the Mater site outweigh:
    1. Any cost differential; and
    2. Any design issues, including access to the hospital.

The Review was carried out under the joint auspices of the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI) and the European Health Property Network (EUPHN). NACHRI is a not-for-profit organisation of children’s hospitals with over 200 members worldwide, which promotes the health and well-being of children and their families through support of children’s hospitals and health systems. EUPHN is an independent organisation with international expertise in the area of capital planning of health facilities, including major hospitals.

The membership comprised:

Dr James Mandell, a paediatric urologist and Chief Executive Officer and Trustee of the Children’s Hospital Boston.

Dr James Shmerling, Chief Executive Officer of the Children’s Hospital at Colorado, with extensive experience in the administration, organisation and running of children’s hospitals.

Prof. Peter Steer, paediatrician and neonatologist and CEO of Children’s Health Services, Queensland, Australia.

Dr Jane Collins, a paediatrician and Chief Executive of the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. She is a member of the Children’s Hospitals International Executive Forum (CHIEF), a forum of chief executives of the largest (over 150 beds) acute children’s hospitals affiliated to NACHRI.

Mr. John Cooper, an eminent architect with worldwide experience in the area of hospital design and construction, nominated by EUPHN. Mr Cooper is also Chair of Architects for Health, a major UK association of architects and health care professionals which aims to promote excellence in the design of hospitals.

Read the Report