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Howlin calls on Harris to reject Phoenix

29 October 2017

Statement by Brendan Howlin TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Northern Ireland

Following continuing controversy over the naming of the National Children’s Hospital, Labour Leader Brendan Howlin has today called on Simon Harris to put an end to the idea of the hospital being named the Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Deputy Howlin said:

“It is unclear to us why so much was invested in an extensive process to name the National Children’s Hospital, which could simply have been named as what it is.

“But having invested so much time and money in deciding to name the hospital, the selection of Phoenix Children’s Hospital seems a bizarre choice, with no linkage to Irish history or culture.

“Over the weekend, several commentators have suggested that naming the hospital after Dr. Kathleen Lynn would be more appropriate - serving as a fitting tribute to one of the many women who fought for equality in Ireland, and for the best possible treatment for sick children.

“Today, we have heard further concerns expressed by the Joint Medical Board representing all three existing children’s hospitals in Dublin, who have pointed out that the name Phoenix is already used in Arizona, which could cause confusion at international events, and more significantly that they believe this name will offend many parents whose children donated organs that were subsequently unused.

“Simon Harris has an opportunity to put an end to all of this. He should issue a direction that the National Children’s Hospital simply be named as it is, or alternatively, that it should be renamed in honour of Kathleen Lynn.”