Selling Bessborough will lead to job losses in vital services

Selling Bessborough will lead to job losses in vital services
The Bessborough Centre and Convent. Part of the lands are up for sale. Picture Denis Minihane.

AT least 40 jobs are at risk at Bessborough Centre, which will result in the loss of a number of vital services, as the building is to be sold by the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, writes Roisin Burke

The 35-acre estate accommodates the Bessborough Centre, which delivers a range of services to vulnerable families and children, as well as running a creche and providing a wide range of employment supports services. The centre, under the patronage of the Sisters, employs 95 staff.

Staff were told at a recent meeting that many would lose their jobs. They were also told that the conditional sale would include the provision of a small facility to house one of the current services, with all other services to be wound up.

According to our source, this downsizing allows the nuns to sell the full 35 acres, the loss of a school for second chance education for adults, employment support projects, local training initiatives and training services.

In the past 20 years, €30m in State funding has been spent in Bessborough to maintain and upgrade the site.

According to the centre’s annual report, yearly funding is €3.4m. Of this, 45% comes from the Child and Family Agency and 20% comes from the Department of Social Protection.

Local councillor, Chris O’Leary, said he is worried about the future of the services and disappointed in the Sisters.

“Due to funding by the State, there is a dividend owed, by social responsibility, to the Government.

“I think it is very cheeky of the order to take State handouts and attempt to close down the services, developed with State aid.

“The community is not going to get anything out of it. The Sisters could leave the centre to the city or the State.”

This story first appeared in the Evening Echo


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