Dáil Éireann - Volume 610 - 22 November, 2005

Written Answers. - Hospital Transfer.

  100. Mr. Costello asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if she proposes to transfer the Central Mental Hospital to the Thornton Hall site; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29766/05]

  Mr. T. O’Malley: In 2003, the Minister for Health and Children established a project team, chaired by the former East Coast Area Health Board, to progress the re-development of the Central Mental Hospital. The team reported to the Department of Health and Children via the former Eastern Regional Health Authority in May 2004 and recommended that the Central Mental Hospital be relocated to a new purpose built facility in the greater Dublin area, as this was judged to be the most appropriate option for delivery of patient care. In November 2004, the Government decided in principle to develop the new Central Mental Hospital adjacent to the new Mountjoy Prison replacement complex.

I emphasise that the new Central Mental Hospital will be a health facility, providing a therapeutic forensic psychiatric service to the highest international standards in a state-of-the-art-building. The hospital will remain under the [1221] aegis of the Department of Health and Children and will be owned and managed by the Health Service Executive. Furthermore, I have asked my officials to examine the option of providing a separate governance structure for the hospital, by way of its own board, reflecting its importance as a national, tertiary psychiatric service. It is intended to develop the Central Mental Hospital, independently of the prison complex, by means of a separate capital development project, managed and directed by the Health Service Executive. A new Central Mental Hospital on the 150 acre site would have its own grounds with a separate entrance, access road and address.

My Department is preparing detailed proposals for Government in relation to the development of the new hospital and the disposal of the property at Dundrum. It is my intention that the proceeds from the sale of the existing site will go towards the provision of the new hospital in the first instance, with the balance of funds to be invested in health facilities, in particular community mental health facilities.

Question No. 101 answered with Question No. 90.