Private hospital planned for Ennis

Mon, Feb 13, 2012, 00:00

A PRIVATE consortium is planning to establish a €60 million private hospital that will create 600 jobs in Ennis.

Duesbury Ltd is planning a 97- bed hospital within the 19th-century protected structure that housed the former Health Service Executive-run Our Lady’s Psychiatric Hospital on the northern outskirts of Ennis.

The company has referred the proposal to An Bord Pleanála to determine whether it can be classified as a strategic infrastructure development. If it does meet the criteria, the application will be adjudicated upon by the appeals board, bypassing Clare County Council planners.

A spokesman for Duesbury said: “A number of hospital investors/ operator groups are in discussions with the owners of the site with regard to its future use.”

He said the hospital would create 100 construction jobs and 600 jobs when operational. It would comprise a “full care hospital providing all medical services and ancillary accommodation to include 97 full in-patient beds, also including 12 consultant suites with 30 first-strategy recovery cubicles and office accommodation”.

Hotelier Allen Flynn, builder Martin Fitzgibbon and Paul Talty purchased the site in October 2005 from the council for €5.2 million. The three secured planning permission for a four-star hotel. However, they have never advanced the hotel plan and through Duesbury are seeking permission for the hospital.

HSE health forum member and councillor Brian Meaney (Green) said yesterday that he would not be opposed to such a hospital plan. Mr Meaney had been vocal in his opposition to plans for a €40 million private hospital plan on the western fringes of Ennis last year that was refused planning permission by An Bord Pleanála.

Ennis is served by a community-owned operation, Cahercalla Hospital, and the HSE-operated Mid-West Regional Hospital.

Private hospitals are also located in Galway and Limerick cities.

An Bord Pleanála is expected to reach a decision soon as to whether the Ennis proposal meets the criteria of a strategic infrastructure development.