The Planning Inspector did not reject, in its entirety, the Gloucester Street site of the hospital. The recommendations from the Planning inspector were that this would be accepted subject to the scale and size of said plans.
It was the Alliance led Government, through Russell Labey, who brought their proposition to entirely reject Gloucester Street as a site.
We note the opening statement of the report accompanying the proposition…
“If ever there was a time for clarity in political direction to the Department for Infrastructure and the Department for Health and Social Services, this is it”.
One cannot ignore the irony of this opening statement.
If this proposition had not been brought (we question why it was) and we had stayed with the Gloucester Street site, some of the facilities would have been up and running by now.
By way of example: Day Surgery, Endoscopy, Orthopaedic, ENT, Audiology, Ophthalmology, Pharmacy, Pathology and Renal departments and facilities would have been opened in 2022. The main building, including the Emergency Department, Radiology, Maternity, Gynaecology, Children’s, Main Theatres and Critical Care departments, as well as public and private inpatient wards above, would have been completed by the end of 2024.
To any objective observer reviewing the states of affairs we now face: (1) it would be hard to avoid the conclusion that no real in-depth thought was given to the challenges that would be faced at Overdale. (2) This mess was actually caused by an Alliance led government aiming to win a political fight without thinking through the consequences for us all.