PLANNING permission has been given for a €40 million private hospital on the outskirts of Ennis after councillors overwhelmingly voted through a rezoning to accommodate the proposal.
At Clare County Council’s October meeting, councillors voted 28 to 3 in favour of the rezoning at Woodstock in Ennis to give developers Pat Bonner and John Stack the go-ahead for the 100-bed hospital.
A number of local residents had objected to the proposal, however, Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG) said: “I am supportive of the proposal as there is a need for a private hospital in Clare.”
Cllr James Breen (Ind) said that he was also fully supportive of the plan, claiming that the Health Service Executive (HSE) had failed miserably to serve the health needs of the people of Clare, while Cllr Michael Kelly (FF) said that it was a no-brainer and that he would be voting in favour of the plan.
However, Cllr Brian Meaney (Green) said: “I am fundamentally opposed to this proposal on a number of grounds.
“There is already another site in Ennis that is zoned for a hospital and I don’t believe that this proposal will look after the long-term health needs of the people of Clare. What is driving this proposal are tax incentives.”
Already, the chairman of the community-owned Cahercalla Community Hospital and Hospice, Fr Harry Bohan, has written to councillors stating that if planning permission is given, it threatens the long-term viability of Cahercalla.
The council’s planners recommended that the plan should get the go-ahead after the developers reduced the scale of the proposal.
The hospital floor area has been reduced from 20,729sq m to 15,367sq m, which represents a 26% reduction and the height of the proposal has been reduced by 5 metres.
The original application provided for 120 beds for inpatient care and a further 20 beds and this has now been reduced to 100 beds, that includes 73 inpatient beds and 20 day surgery, 7 gyno-cardiology beds.
According to documents lodged with the council, the hospital “will provide a full range of medical and heatlhcare services, including general surgery, urgent care, cardiology, oncology, cosmetic surgery and endoscopy”.
It will also provide physiotherapy, radiology, MRI Scans, dialysis and dental facilities.
In the vote, councillors voted 28 to 3 in favour, with the three councillors to vote against being Cllr Meaney, Cllr Tommy Brennan (In) and Cllr Gerry Flynn (Ind).
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