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Minister hints at housing potential for St Finan’s

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By Sean Moriarty

Plans for a €4.2m Waterford housing project could set the benchmark for the future of St Finan’s Hospital.

WATERFORD: St Joseph’s House Manor Hill Waterford is being converted into 71 apartments. There is similar potential at St Finan's Hospital in Killarney. Photo: MDP Partners

This is according to TD Peter Burke, Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage who visited St Finan's on Tuesday during a whistle-stop tour of Kerry.

Mr Burke was accompanied by his Fine Gael colleague, local TD Brendan Griffin, who spoke about how the Waterford project could be replicated in Killarney.

Late last year Waterford City and County Council announced that it was to build 71 residential units in St Joseph’s House, Manor Hill – a former convent building in the city.

Over €4.2 million has been approved to re-purpose the existing buildings which are protected structures, to provide 50 apartment dwellings within the former convent building and 21 dwellings within the outbuilding clusters on the Waterford site.

St Finan's has been vacant since 2012. The site and its surrounding gardens is currently owned by the Health Services Executive (HSE) who offered the property for sale on the private market last year but so far no offers have been received. The HSE is building a new Community Hospital on a portion of the 30-acre site. Around five acres could be used for a new pedestrian underpass linking Ballydribbeen and neighbouring estates to the town side of the bypass. Mr Griffin said housing was one potential use while Mr Burke cited the County Waterford example as one way the iconic building could be put to better use.

“This is a proactive step in terms of examining all possible uses for the building and the site,” Mr Griffin told the Killarney Advertiser.

“The most pressing issue we have in this country at the moment is that the lack of housing for people and that is very much at the heart of what we're doing today.”

St Joseph’s Houses in Waterford city centre can draw many similarities to the Killarney site.

The former home of the Little Sisters of the Poor since 1874, has been empty and falling into disrepair since November 2010.

It was bought by Walsh and Sheehan Investments Ltd and through Waterford City and County Council, and it qualified for funding under 'Housing for All – A New Housing Plan for Ireland' scheme.

“We saw in Waterford, particularly, a massive big building like this that we brought in to use for residential. So, I think this visit is to get the narrative going, get people talking about what we can do to unlock the potential of this building,” Mr Burke added.

“That can be multi-use. It doesn't specifically have to be solely for housing. Obviously, we're in a housing crisis so the primary objective of the Department is to unlock as many residential units as we can.”

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Ring of Beara Cycle launches school programme

The Ring of Beara Cycle is for kids too! As part of its commitment to make a positive impact on the local community, the Ring of Beara Cycle are proud […]

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The Ring of Beara Cycle is for kids too! As part of its commitment to make a positive impact on the local community, the Ring of Beara Cycle are proud to continue to with two great initiatives: its Kids’ Cycle and its sponsorship of the School Cycle Safety Programme.

The Ring of Beara Cycle will take place on May 25 with over 4,000 cyclists taking part. The event starts and finishes in Kenmare town, Co Kerry to complete either a 110km or 140km route encompassing the magnificent mountains, valleys and the rugged coastline of the Beara Peninsula.

Kids’ Cycle
Adults are not the only ones getting on their bikes on May 25 for the Ring of Beara Cycle. The event also has its very own cycle for children around the town of Kenmare. Not only does this give kids a chance to join in the days’ activities with their parents, but it’s free and a great way for kids to get outdoors and exercise in a fun and safe environment.
Open to any child in national school between third and fifth class and following a 2km route around Kenmare and a slightly shorter route for tinier ones, registration is from 9.15am in Kenmare town square. Parents and guardians are welcome to cycle with their children. All participants should bring and wear a safety helmet for the cycle.
School Cycle Safety Programme
Another community initiative from the Ring of Beara Cycle is the Cycle Right Programme, working with local schools to get kids’ up to speed on road safety and cycle best practices.
The Ring of Beara Cycle is working with Cycle Sense and Wheely Good Cycling Academy to deliver this 4-week programme to local schools in and around Kenmare and the Beara Peninsula.
Some 250 students across 8 schools are participating in this initiative, and the schools involved are: St John’s National School, Realt Na Mara National School , Lauragh National School and Tulloha National School in Kenmare, and on the Beara Peninsula: Scoil Chaitigheirn in Eyeries, Oir Cheann iNational School in Eyeries, Cahermore National School in Allihies, Scoil An Croi Ro Naofa in Castletownbere, Mhichil Naofa in Castletownbere, Adrigole N S in Bantry, and Trafrask Mixed N S in Ardrigole.
This initiative is normally paid for by the schools themselves but is now free for all the children taking part thanks to a generous donation by the Ring of Beara Cycle Committee that covers the cost of delivering the programme to these schools.
Cycle Right is the National Standard for Cycle Training and provides practical cycle safety and skills training through Department of Transport, the Road Safety Authority and Cycling Ireland. The aim of the programme is to promote cycle confidence on the road in increasingly complex scenarios delivered by qualified, registered trainers.
No stranger to giving back to the local community, not only does the Ring of Beara Cycle make a significant, positive impact on the local economy, it also encourages kids to enjoy themselves on their bikes and to do this safely with confidence.

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Browne’s Agri Open Day is a must-attend event

Browne’s Agri Open Day is always one that was marked in  Agri calendars as a ‘must-attend event’. This year’s event is taking place on Wednesday May 22 on their site […]

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Browne’s Agri Open Day is always one that was marked in  Agri calendars as a ‘must-attend event’.

This year’s event is taking place on Wednesday May 22 on their site in Castleisland.

The event was always renowned for getting great advice on the Agri topics of the day as well as a window into modern developments taking place in all aspect of Agriculture and country living.

The extending of the yard area will allow more space to be given over to even more exhibitors, ensuring all areas of agriculture, and rural life will be showcased on the 22.

There will be experts on hand to advise on Calf Rearing, Grassland management, Weed control, Drainage, Fencing , Shed and Yard Layouts as well as bee keeping, and helpful health advice.

“As well as the great advice, you will be ensured of great deals, great food, great craic and free entry to the many spot prizes that will be available on the day,” said general manager Denis O’Connor.

“All that is asked is your attendance and if at all possible, to make a small contribution to our chosen charity Pieta House.”

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