Minister denies National Children's Hospital is trying to cut corners on fire regulations

The Health Minister Simon Harris says An Bord Pleanála will have the final say on the fire requirements for the new National Children's Hospital.

It comes after the hospital's board applied for an exemption from some of the conditions attached to the planning permission.

These include an extensive sprinkler system and changes to a glass atrium.

Minister Harris says that they are not trying to cut corners.

He said: "The National Children's Hospital and the Paediatric Development Board have gone above and beyond in making sure that this world-class hospital will exceed fire safety standards.

"This is certainly not an issue of costs from the perspective of the Government. This is a project of nearly €1bn in terms of investment by the taxpayer so that we can deliver a world-cl;ass hospital for children right across this country.

"So the issue of costs will not arise whatever An Bord Pleanála decides exactly what to go with."

The National Paediatric Hospital Development Board had lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanála, seeking to be relieved of Dublin City Council’s requirements relating to a water-sprinkler system in the planned atrium during the construction phase of the €1bn project.

It was reported that the project had been granted a fire certificate subject to four conditions last May, but a month later the hospital board had sought to have all bar one of those overturned.

The National Paediatric Hospital Development Board defended the fire safety design measures.

It said: “The safety of children attending the new children’s hospital, and that of their parents and visitors, together with hospital staff and the wider community, is the primary concern for all those involved in this project.

“The National Paediatric Hospital Development Board held extensive consultations with the Dublin City Council Fire Brigade in preparation for the application of the Fire Safety Certificate for the new children’s hospital, and we are confident that the fire safety design measures we have proposed are both compliant with, and indeed exceed, current regulations and standards.

“The provision of fire sprinkler protection planned for the new children’s hospital will exceed the number that is set out within the fire safety regulation legislation.

“A statutory process is under way in relation to a number of conditions relating to the Fire Safety Certificate. A decision is expected from An Bord Pleanála by year end and the NPHDB will comply with any fire safety requirements associated with ABP’s decision.”

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