Killarney hospital offered to Dept of Housing for Ukrainian refugees
The landmark St Finan's Hospital in Killarney has been offered to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage as potential accommodation and housing for Ukrainian refugees.
The property, which has been empty for almost a decade, sits on around 30 acres of land.
The former psychiatric hospital opened as the Killarney Asylum in 1852 and accommodated over 1,000 patients in its heyday in the 1950s and 1960s.
It was put on open market sale last year by the HSE after being offered to a number of agencies including the local council.
Once a major employer in Killarney, calls over the years for the listed building to be converted to a hotel and catering school, a third level college or retirement home have fallen on deaf ears.
The substantial grounds and building, overlooking the lakes of Killarney, are adjacent to schools and other services.
Most recently, Mayor of Killarney Cllr Marie Moloney (Lab) asked for the main building to be renovated into one and two-bed apartments for people awaiting social housing in Kerry.
"I hope locals on the housing list will also be accommodated on the lands and in particular if the building itself is being renovated it should be for applicants on the housing list who are waiting for one and two bedroom apartments as well as accommodating Ukrainian refugees."
The former Labour senator had met with Minister Darragh O'Brien asking for the reuse of St Finan’s for social housing during a recent visit to Kerry.
The cost of securing and maintaining the closed building and grounds amounts to close to €23,000 each year Cork Kerry Community Healthcare revealed last autumn.
The HSE had last year offered the land to Kerry County Council and the land Valuation Office was involved.
Negotiations for a parcel of 5.77 acres for housing on St Finan’s lands at Ballydribeen took place but fell through, it is understood.
Cork Kerry Community Healthcare has now confirmed the property has been put forward for Ukrainian refugees.
The HSE were requested to issue details of available vacant properties/sites under its ownership to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage for potential sources of accommodation and housing and St Finan’s was included within this list for their consideration.
Co Kerry is hosting more than 2,200 Ukrainian refugees, mostly in hotels, a number of which have closed to the public. That figure is expected to rise to 3,000 shortly.