Historic listed building, built in 1852, is closed off

Poles in the ground to hold the fencing

The former St Finan’s Hospital building is to be completely barricaded to prevent the public from gaining access to the property.

Fencing is currently being erected around the perimeter of the building and the decision has been taken for security reasons.

The Health Service Executive confirmed to KillarneyToday.com, in a written reply to queries submitted, that the move follows a request from the insurance company and it was stressed that cover would not be provided unless the property was protected with a fence.

A security company has been regularly monitoring the building but there are concerns that the historic complex is wide open to trespassers given that there are several access and entry points.

In 2014, €250,000 was spent to ringfence the former hospital for security purposes and there has been considerable annual costs sustained every year since then.

Preparation work underway to seal off access to the building

The hospital, built in 1852 and a listed building, has been completely shut down since 2012 and it is now in a seriously dilapidated state.

Planning and Local Government Minister, Peter Burke, visited the now derelict Victorian building and the surrounding site in recent weeks and said the potential of the former psychiatric hospital for housing purposes was not lost on him.

He said similar old buildings elsewhere in the country were converted under the repair and lease scheme and he stressed that Kerry County Council and other statutory bodies would need to explore possible uses for the hospital site which, he acknowledged, has “huge potential”.

The fencing runs the entire way around the front, back and sides of the building

A number of other used have also been proposed for the building, including a tourism and catering college, a new hospital, a sports arena, a primary care centre and a hotel and apartments, but the cost of necessary refurbishments of might be very prohibitive.

Although the property is open to offers and a number of interested parties have visited the site, KillarneyToday.com previously revealed that a successful application from Kerry County Council to acquire 5.66 acres of HSE land – in the Ballydribbeen area – was the only expression of interest received from any state body.