Former Ballsbridge nursing home to accommodate 220 asylum seekers

St Mary’s Home on Pembroke Park to be used for families seeking international protection

A vacant former nursing home in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 will reopen in the coming days as a 220-bed emergency accommodation facility for asylum seekers, the Department of Integration has confirmed.

St Mary’s Home on Pembroke Park beside St Conleth’s College will be used to house families seeking international protection for at least the next year.

The Victorian building off Clyde Road and adjacent to Herbert Park was used as a nursing home up to 2020. It had until recently been owned by Richmond Homes which put the property on the market for €7 million in September, just months after securing planning permission for a controversial 64-unit Build-to-Rent (BTR) scheme.

In a briefing document for public representatives issued this week, the department said the building was now owned by Goldstein Property Irish Collective Asset Management and leased by Burvea Unlimited Company on a five-year lease.


“Burvea will be operating the site with a total of 20 staff members. Burvea have previous experience in the management of IPAS [International Protection Accommodation Service] accommodation centres,” the document said. “In addition, the Centre Management team in IPAS have developed and rolled out (as a pilot initially) a training programme for all centre managers to take part in and this will be offered to the provider.”

The accommodation will consist of 40 rooms for a maximum of 220 people spread across three floors, with “multiple large recreational spaces, visitor/clinic rooms and a large dining hall”, the department said.

There will be full-board catering provided. “The property is served by extensive transport links and adjoins Herbert Park. There are a wide range of amenities in the immediate area to aid the successful integration of residents in the community,” it said.

“The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth will manage the arrival of people into this centre,” it said.

The department said it was not possible to say how long residents would be staying at the facility but it said a one-year contract has been offered to the provider.

“We are currently providing 25,926 people seeking international protection with State-sourced accommodation and support services,” it said. “In addition to that, since February 2022, we are also providing accommodation to 73,553 people who have fled the war in Ukraine, resulting in over 99,400 people in State-provided or pledged accommodation in Ireland, and that number continues to increase.”

In the last six months there has been an average of 560 people seeking accommodation every week, it said. “Our communities and neighbourhoods have responded with a generosity of spirit, in keeping with both our international reputation and our obligations, that recognises the human plight and trauma that people are experiencing, and their right to seek protection and help from the international community.”

Last month more than 200 international protection applicants in Ireland were left without State accommodation.

St Mary’s Home first served as a school when it was built in 1891. It was later converted for use as a nursing home for retired women in the Church of Ireland.

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Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times