*An artwork design of the proposed health facility. 

An ex-principal of St Flannan’s College in Ennis has emerged as one of a number of objectors to new plans for a €25m elderly care unit on diocesan owned lands at the college.

Last month, the HSE lodged plans for the 100 bed community Nursing Unit (CNU) on a seven acre green field site at Clonroadmore at the post primary St Flannan’s College. The hospital is to replace the existing bed capacity at St Joseph’s Hospital in Ennis.

The new unit is to contain 75 long stay and 25 short stay beds and according to planning documents lodged most residents will have high dependency needs “and a number may also suffer from Alzheimer’s/Dementia”.

A total of 11 objections have been lodged against the proposal and in a detailed, hard-hitting objection against the application, Colm McDonagh has told Clare County Council that the proposed CNU “is inappropriate at this location and is not in the best interests of proper planning and development of the area”.

A native of Ennis, Mr McDonagh was on the teaching staff at St Flannan’s College for 33 years and became the first lay principal of St Flannan’s College in 2000 remaining in the post until his retirement from the role in 2012.

The property arm of the Diocese of Killaloe, the St Flannan’s Killaloe Diocesan Trust which owns the land which provided a letter giving its consent for the plans to be lodged to Clare County Council.

In his objection, Mr McDonagh questions if the Killaloe Diocesan Trust has the authority to consent the lodging of the planning application.

He said, “A similar scenario occurred last than 20 years when Killaloe Diocesan Trust were undertaking a similar course of action that would have resulted in the sale of these sales to facilitate the relocation of Ennis National School”.

He said, “Back then, like now, there appeared to be widespread public support for this move as it was deemed to be a very worthy consideration

Mr McDonagh reveals that “the then trustees of St Flannan’s College were very concerned that the sale of these lands was not in accordance with the wishes of the person who bequeathed these lands”.

Mr McDonagh stated that the College Trustees “commissioned eminent legal advice which underpinned the concern that a sale of the lands would be inappropriate with regards to the terms of the relevant will”.

He added, “The College Trustees ultimately prevented the sale of this land at that time firmly believing that they were acting in the best interests of St Flannan’s College”.

Mr McDonagh contends that the Council “need to be extremely mindful that the diocesan trust may not ultimately be empowered to give consent to this application”.

He said, “The terms of the will have obviously not changed. The legal advice sought and given must equally apply at the current time”.

Mr McDonagh said that the precedent of the aborted sale concerning Ennis National School raises very serious issues concerning the authority of the Killaloe Diocesan Trust to dispose of these lands.

Asked to comment on the proposed development, the Bishop of Killaloe, Fintan Monahan said that “this wonderful proposed development” by the HSE “will be of great benefit to our community and which we are delighted to facilitate”.

Bishop Monahan stated, “The diocese is glad to be able to respond positively to the approach and request of the HSE with an urgent need for a new facility for the area”.

On behalf of the Killaloe Diocesan Trust, Bishop Monahan said that the trust can “confirm that the Diocese is entirely free to sell this land for community benefit and has received the necessary Charities Regulator authorisation”.

He said that “the Diocese is very pleased to be able to facilitate the HSE in providing a state of the art facility for the benefit of the communities of Ennis and County Clare in general in a location which is ideal for such a facility”. He said, “The design of the replacement for St Joseph’s is of an extraordinary standard and clearly will greatly benefit our families and communities in County Clare”.

In his objection, Mr McDonagh claims that if the CNU goes ahead it will result in the destruction of a running track and pitch on St Flannan’s grounds. He says “it is now incomprehensible that consideration is been given to the destruction of this infrastructure”.

Mr McDonagh asks, “Would a development be permitted that involved similar destruction of track and field facilities at the Leess Rd complex or at Ennis’s Fairgreen?”

Objecting in a private capacity, Mr McDonagh has also raised traffic congestion and flooding concerns relating to the scheme.

Martha Walzer of Green Park, Clare Rd, Ennis has told the Council that she is 86 years of age and is not objecting to the need for a new nursing home but is objecting to the nursing home being built on the St Flannan’s site when there are more suitable sites at Cahercalla and Lifford.

Ms Walzer says that she “will be a prisoner in my own home” during the construction phase of the scheme.

As part of a 16 page objection, Ms Walzer states that “this is a residential area and this site is the only sport/leisure/biodiversity/recreation space on the east side of Ennis”.

She states, “This entire green field should remain so. We must think of the future generations now. There are very viable alternatives for this development. It is for these reasons I object to the granting of permission and ask that you refuse permission”.

A decision is due on the application in the next number of days.

Related News

court 1
Judge defers imprisonment of Ennis cocaine delivery man by one week
bouncy castle
Judge recommends rejection of €32,500 payout from school girl's bouncy castle fall after deeming offer not high enough
quilty wall
Blue Flag & Green Coast awards for 14 Clare spots
dinny gould susan griffin kevin hassett ian lynch rita mcinerney cillian murphy michael shannon alan troy joseph woulfe 1
The Electoral Chair: Kilrush local electoral area election debate
Latest News
save ennis town rally 18-05-24 31
McNamara slams derision directed towards persons who have questioned Ennis 2040 plans
court 1
Judge defers imprisonment of Ennis cocaine delivery man by one week
clonlara v éire óg 24-09-23 darren o'brien david fitzgerald
Club championship draws put intriguing ties on the horizon in Clare
inagh kilnamona v crusheen 30-07-22 28 niall malone
Malone appointed as referee for Munster U20 hurling final
bouncy castle
Judge recommends rejection of €32,500 payout from school girl's bouncy castle fall after deeming offer not high enough
Premium
bouncy castle
Judge recommends rejection of €32,500 payout from school girl's bouncy castle fall after deeming offer not high enough
clare v waterford 19-05-24 brian lohan 1
Lohan lauds resilience of Clare team as they edge closer to Munster final return
dinny gould susan griffin kevin hassett ian lynch rita mcinerney cillian murphy michael shannon alan troy joseph woulfe 1
The Electoral Chair: Kilrush local electoral area election debate
le19 joe floyd
'Rehashing old issues put me at a disadvantage' - Floyd withdraws election bid
WhatsApp Image 2024-05-20 at 20.39
Clare tripped by Tipp in bid to win back to back Munster minor titles

Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

Scroll to Top