HSE not permitted to clear former Meath Hospital site for car park

Council says Victorian protected structures at Dublin site must be retained and repaired

Buildings at the former Meath hospital in Dublin 8. Photograph: Eric Luke

Buildings at the former Meath hospital in Dublin 8. Photograph: Eric Luke


Dublin City Council has told the Health Service Executive

it may not demolish Victorian protected structures to facilitate a car park.

The HSE has applied to the council for the demolition of 10 buildings at the former Meath hospital in Dublin 8. Three of the buildings are protected stone structures dating from the 19th century.

The council has directed the HSE to retain the three buildings, along with one brick structure with 20th-century additions, and has told it to submit a schedule of works for their repair.

Construction of the hospital began on the site at Heytesbury Street in 1822, with various additions and extensions up to the late 20th century. In 1997 the hospital’s functions were relocated to Tallaght and the site, near St Patrick’s Cathedral in the south inner city became a nursing home.

This facility closed in 2003 and most of the buildings are vacant apart from a community unit in the basement of the main building, and the Liberties Primary Care Centre, located in a prefab on the site.

The HSE has applied to the council for demolition of vacant buildings and “associated landscaping”. However, in its decision notice the council said: “It would appear from the proposed roof plan and landscaping drawing that the proposed vacant areas shall be used as car parking.”

Poor condition
Some of the buildings proposed for clearance were of “inferior construction” and in very poor condition and their demolition was supported, the council said. However, it said four other buildings were some of the earlier of the hospital and should be retained as they were “integral to the understanding of the development of the campus”.

A 2007 report found some of the buildings had severe dry rot and pigeon infestation. “This situation has obviously further declined in recent years,” said the council. It has directed the HSE to submit a schedule of works to prevent further damage and deterioration. It added that the HSE should outline how many parking spaces it intended to put on the site, bearing in mind that the space occupied by the protected structures would not be available.

In a statement the HSE said it was seeking the demolition to “remove old and redundant facilities from the Meath hospital campus in preparation for a new primary care centre on the site”.