Charity will need to raise €1.2m a year for family facility at National Children’s Hospital

The new National Children's Hospital under construction in Dublin

Tony McCullagh

A charity will need to raise at least €1.2m a year to run a family accommodation facility at the new National Children’s Hospital, it has emerged.

Ronald McDonald House Ireland revealed it had already committed €10m towards the delivery of the 53-bed unit on the St James’s Hospital site, which could cost up to €20m to build.

The charity has provided accommodation for the families of seriously ill children in Crumlin since 2004, with annual running costs of around €500,000.

The facility will be transferred to a newly built complex beside the National Children’s Hospital, which is not expected to open until the second half of 2024.

The embattled hospital project has been mired in controversy due to construction delays and spiralling costs, with a final price tag of over €2bn now feared possible.

The new Ronald McDonald House at the National Children’s Hospital will be “a vital home for families from every county and town in Ireland”, according to the charity.

A total of 53 bedrooms will be spread across four floors and the development will include play areas and recreational rooms.

Research has shown that a stay in a Ronald McDonald House has many positive impacts on a family caring for a critically ill child in hospital.

A representative of Ronald McDonald House Ireland told that the €10m already committed to the National Children’s Hospital project would come entirely from the proceeds of fundraising campaigns, as would the estimated €1.2m annual operating costs.

“This is consistent with the funding model for all 376 Ronald McDonald Houses worldwide,” a spokesperson said.

Councillor Tina MacVeigh (PBP) said it was “a reality” that many public support systems, including the health service, were dependent on charities.

“I would rather see a much healthier public system, where such infrastructure is provided based on need and is not reliant on the benevolence of charitable organisations,” she said.

Róisín Shortall, co-leader of the Social Democrats, said she applauded the work of people fundraising for the National Children’s Hospital.

“But it beggars belief that we are spending €2bn on a new campus and there is not enough money to pay for essential services for parents,” she added.

Meanwhile, four members of Dublin Fire Brigade have signed up for a charity challenge, which will see up to 100 volunteers abseil down Generator’s 190ft Skyview Tower in Smithfield.

The ‘Tower of Terror’ event, in aid of Ronald McDonald House Ireland, will take place on October 29, with minimum entry of €100 per participant, in addition to a suggested fundraising target of €400.

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