The impact of the National Children’s Hospital development on local residents

Construction on the new National Children’s Hospital began in 2019 and recent news suggests that it may not be completed until 2024. Isabel Ní Challaráin reveals the impact this development has had on local residents. 

Rialto, Ceannt Fort, Mount Brown, South Circular Road and Brookfield Road have been severely affected by the development of the National Children’s Hospital (NCH) on St James’ hospital campus. 

The cranes, lights, noise, traffic, concrete and workers are among the most difficult challenges residents are facing. The site was not deemed essential work in the first lockdown, but circumstances have changed. Currently there are around 1,000 workers at the site and this number is expected to increase to 2,500 in the next month. With large numbers of people in this small community, residents are concerned for their health and the further spread of Covid.  

Construction of the National Children’s Hospital.

Máire Devine, Sinn Féin councilor and local resident of the Liberties has been directly impacted by the development of the new hospital. The construction workers often work from 5:30 in the morning until midnight. Devine said that, “there’s lots of issues, lots of damage to properties. They are in the high court still dealing with it. It’s really disturbing the mental well-being of the people in this community in the immediate vicinity of it.” 

“It’s really disturbing the mental well-being of this community in the immediate vicinity of it”.

Máire Devine, Sinn Féin councilor

Devine said that BAM Ireland the contractor behind the NCH construction has walked away from any responsibility in providing parking and that contracts and by-laws need to change, a construction site this size shouldn’t overwhelm the general population. Devine also said that, “It’s not the construction workers fault in a way, at first, we were told that people would access the site by the Luas but how are you supposed to hall your tools and working gear to do your days’ work.” 

There has been no resolution to the “hundreds and hundreds of cars” from early morning till late at night parking in these small streets. Brookfield road in particular is a one-way street. 

Labour councilor, Darragh Moriarty told the Liberty that residents are no longer guaranteed a parking space in front of their own home because of the huge increase in vehicles in the area. 

Moriarty also said that, “there have been anecdotal reports of workers congregating, playing music, chatting loudly from as early as 5.30 in the morning. This is disrupting the local residents.” 

Similar to Devine, Moriarty has found it difficult to keep up with all the planning applications for different housing and construction projects. Moriarty said that, “It’s vitally important that as that renewal and change happens, we bring the existing local community with us and make sure they are not being pushed aside or ignored.” 

Local resident Tony Whelan lives around the corner from the construction site and said that, “Whenever I pass by, they seem to be working at a leisurely pace, taking their time. That seems to be the way it goes with government projects.” 

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