By Anne Lucey
The HSE has this week revealed its plans for the future of St Finan’s Hospital – saying they are to transfer 5.77 acres to Kerry County Council for social housing.
It was also revealed that a new community nursing unit is also in the pipeline, as the HSE plans to lodge a planning application shortly.
A third level outreach college is also very likely to be part of the new plans as well – though exactly for what discipline has not been made clear.
There were mounting concerns about the future of the landmark Victorian listed building which overlooks Killarney town since it became vacant in 2012 – including from Cllr Michael Gleeson who slammed the lack of progress at a Council meeting last week – saying the building is in serious danger of becoming derelict.
The Council and the IT Tralee have now approached the HSE together through the interstate transfer of property process and have, it seems, been offered at least part of the building and some of the lands.
“Kerry Council have confirmed that they wish to acquire 5.77 acres to the north of the Ring Road at Ballydribeen and the disposal of this element is being progressed with Kerry Council,” the HSE said in a statement this week.
“The Council was engaged with Irish Rail regarding improving access to the site. The HSE will retain part of the main campus at St Finan’s to facilitate the development of a community nursing unit. This is currently being developed as part of a National Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative and a planning application for this proposed development will shortly be submitted to Kerry County Council.”
While the HSE has not said what the IT Tralee plans are, it confirmed the IT Tralee had expressed an interest and it has been offered what remains of the property, excluding the social housing and nursing unit elements.
“The Institute of Technology Tralee, in conjunction with Kerry County Council, have expressed an interest in acquiring the remaining property at St Finan’s via the interstate transfer of state property process. The HSE has recently written to IT Tralee/KCC and is currently awaiting final confirmation of their continued interest in acquiring the remaining property,” the HSE said.
The annual preventive maintenance costs for the vacant building and site at St Finan’s site amount to €17,000 per year.