THE Health Service Executive has been urged to act swiftly to allow the development of the landmark St Finan’s Hospital in Killarney if the building is to be saved from total dereliction.
The former psychiatric institution, which closed in 2012, has been left to decay with no known plans for its future.
This is in spite of the fact that the government insisted in 2017 that the HSE would be “very interested” in working with local communities if there were viable proposals.
Raising the matter this week, Cllr Michael Gleeson said the building has dominated the Killarney skyline since 1852 and is very sad that it is simply standing there idle and forlorn.
The former Killarney Town Council tried on several occasions to extract answers from the then Southern Health Board and, later, the HSE regarding the future of the building and the adjoining land but it was all in vain.
“I have suggested that it could be an ideal location for apartments for the elderly and especially for people who might wish to move from the country closer to town. Such use, I believe, accords with present government policy in relation to closed convent and hospital buildings,” Cllr Gleeson said.
He also suggested that it could be transformed into a location for outreach third level education purposes by one of the universities and that could be particularly relevant now with the proposed merger between IT Tralee and Cork Institute of Technology.
“It could become an umbrella location for many or all of the public service centres in the greater Killarney area but it can’t become anything other than a decaying building until the HSE makes up its corporate mind,” Cllr Gleeson stated.
He added that the adjacent 30-acres of land that is lying idle has such rich potential for so many community uses.
In July 2017 Minister Richard Bruton said the government was willing to listen to proposals from the public regarding the future use of the sprawling complex but no progress has been made since then.
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