Limerick Youth Service to redevelop closed centre
The Limerick Youth Service is to redevelop 19th-century Ballyloughran House in north Co Kerry as a weekend hostel for youths from Limerick city and other regions. The house had been run as a multipurpose leisure and accommodation centre for schools and young people for 40 years.
Limerick Youth Service closed Ballyloughran Activity Centre in Lisselton in November 2009, citing financial pressures as the reason. At the time, however, management said it was committed to the future of Ballyloughran in a more favourable economic climate.
Nearby residents had objected to the plans by the service to demolish the old buildings and redevelop the centre.
Up to 40 were involved in an appeal against a Kerry County Council decision to grant permission.
As well as the loss of a historic building the residents said they feared the new facility would be used for drug treatment or detention. However, this was denied.
An Bord Pleanála has now ordered that the historic core be retained and has given the go-ahead for the development of a 32-bed hostel. The swimming pool and leisure centre are not to continue because of cost considerations. Catherine Kelly, director of Limerick Youth Service, said they were delighted with the ruling. The plans were for a weekend-type facility for youth clubs and the time scale and fundraising would most likely be addressed when the board of the service meets in November, she said.