Nearly 10 years after it’s formal closure St. Brigid’s Hospital Complex – a listed Monument and hallmark entry façade on the Eastern approaches to town continues to crumble under the apparent indifference of the State.
BACD approached the HSE and Dept of Health nearly 10 years ago and were crudely told it would no be parcelled off but would all go as a block site – provided the State agencies had no requirement for it.
A Full day Seminar on the Re - Imagining of St. Brigid’s under the Patronage of the then Minister Naughton was held in Summer 2018 with representatives of all the state agencies – a report was commissioned, agreed and circulated.
Various private buyers and consortia were met and many meetings were held with County Council, HSE, Dept of Health all agreeing in principle that they all wished the site to be developed.
Thirty six months after the Respite Hotel Group last met with the principals there has been frustratingly no progress and the private investors are both frustrated and puzzled as to why their proposals to buy and maintain the fabric of the iconic buildings and campus have met with such official indifference.
Cllr Dr. Eveyln Parsons is calling on the HSE to prioritize the appointment of a St Brigids Project Team to urgently move on development.
Cllr Parsons motion passed at a Regional Health Forum recently on St Brigids Hospital Campus“ to make the HSE prioritize the appointment of a St Brigid’s Project Team to formulate a Plan for the re-use, disposal and/or development of this state owned property including consideration of Multi-Agency Involvement and/or Public Private Partnerships taking cognizance of the cultural, visual, protected status and heritage sensitivities of some buildings and the central importance of St Brigid Hospital’s history and legacy in the psychiatric, medico-social and economic lives of people throughout the West of Ireland over the past two centuries. “ . She is also adamant that the HSE must now regularly report regularly to the forum on the disposal.
Breda Crehan Roche Community Healthcare West HSE, confirmed in reply to the motion that the HSE has been approached by a private developer, the Respite Hotel Group, with regards to its development and that the HSE themselves have no plans to re-use or develop it but are in the process of moving the Maintenance department off-site in the next few months. When the Estates department decamps from St Brigid’s Campus it will be listed for sale on the State Register following Dept of Public Expenditure and Refrom procedures.
This will open full possibilities of acquisition for development. Cllr Parsons called on the HSE for IDA to be consulted also with regard to acquiring lands to the east of the Taughmaconnell road for future Industrial use and expansion close to the existing IDA Business Park, which is separate to the main campus and derelict hospital buildings.
The Respite Hotel Group are a consortium which promotes the design and development of bespoke retirement, healthcare and wellness facilities . Directors Sean Ruane and Maureen Lynch of the stated: “Our Vision is to create a multi-purpose Campus focused on the health and wellness needs of older people, providing independent and assisted living accommodation as well as respite programs and services promoting positive mental health and well-being. Yet we continue to be frustrated with the lack of clarity and co-operation from the HSE.”
The group proposed a full redevelopment of the existing premises including a new Retirement Village, a Wellness Retreat Hotel, Housing for Dementia and Alzheimer patients, a hostel for visitors, and other amenities including a museum on the history of the complex, a café, pharmacy, a small shop, Chapel, Green Space for outdoor exercise and a Leisure Complex. The project which was provisionally due to be finished by 2028 , can’t even get to the starting blocks!
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