A former Longford GAA midfielder, along with his business partner, have offered eight acres of land at the old racecourse in the Phoenix Park in Dublin to build the new National Children’s Hospital - at a reported saving of €210m to building at the Mater site.
Jimmy Flynn and Noel O’Flaherty, of Flynn and O’Flaherty Construction offered the site – free of charge - to the Minster of Health, after plans to construct the hospital on a four and a half acre site at the Mater Hospital fell through earlier this year.
The eight acres, which is part of a 113 acre parcel of land that has been under construction by Flynn and O’Flaherty to develop residential units and a shopping centre in recent times, is according to Flynn “ready for the hospital” should it get the go-ahead. He added, “The location is accessible to everyone in Ireland and this is a national hospital, not a Dublin Hospital.”
“We actually have all the infrastructure on the site, so we are ready to go with the hospital if needs be,” he added. “Yes, of course this is a positive move; it will bring a great boost to the area and the eight acres will accommodate one million square feet. If more land is required to develop further, then that can be arranged too, but the eight acres is more than adequate for a National Children’s Hospital.”
The Newtownforbes native, who is well-known in football circles, was a member of the great Longford senior team in the 1960s and member of the winning side in ‘66 and again in 1968, as well as the memorable Clonguish teams of the same era. “I would think building the hospital on that particular site could in some way act as a catalyst to regenerate and enhance the area,” Flynn explained. “The location is perfect; it is accessible from Longford and Sligo and from as far away as Donegal and Limerick and that is a very important factor in all of this. It would be convenient for everyone in Ireland and the area has all the facilities that a family would need as well.
“The National Children’s Hospital should be accessible and available to every person in this country that needs it and the site that we have provided is more than suitable; it’s a national hospital, not a Dublin Hospital.”
Cllr Peggy Nolan (FG) praised Jimmy Flynn’s “good deeds” this week and said that she was a “very proud” Longford woman. “I want to commend Jimmy Flynn and his business partner Noel O’Flaherty; they have done a most generous deed and they are to be commended for this,” she said. “They will forever be regarded as the men who had the vision to develop a centre of excellence for the children of this country.”
The Minister for Health James Reilly, who lived in Longford during his younger years, has set up a review group to study options for the project. It is due to report back in the coming weeks.