VANDALS have destroyed a disused mental hospital complex despite a e1.5 million security bill footed by the taxpayer.
The chairman of the Dáil Public Accounts Committee (PAC) branded the situation at the disused Our Lady’s Complex on Cork’s northside a complete scandal.
Fine Gael TD Bernard Allen said the badly damaged buildings stand as a testament to the neglect and mismanagement of the Health Service Executive (HSE).
“It is an absolute scandal that this has been let happen, while HSE managers are paid huge salaries and bonuses,” he said.
The situation was highlighted on TV3 news last night.
Vandals have been squatting in the derelict buildings and using the rooms for drink and drug parties.
The report showed boarded up windows, smashed windows, and graffiti destroyed buildings on a site which was once estimated at e100 million on the open market.
The Our Lady’s complex comprised the iconic red-bricked Our Lady’s Hospital building, along with five other separate units.
Our Lady’s Hospital closed in 1991, and was sold with some surrounding land.
St Bridget’s Unit closed in 1993, while St Kevin’s Unit closed in 2003. St Dympna’s Unit closed in 2007 along with a hostel on the grounds of the complex.
St Ann’s Unit closed in 2001 when a new acute admissions unit was opened in the Mercy University Hospital. It was subsequently redeveloped and opened in 2003, as Carrigmor, a high-security unit.
The last remaining occupied building, St John’s Unit, closed in 2009 and the service transferred to other accommodation.
A HSE spokesperson confirmed that e1,591,000 was spent on security for the complex between 2002 and 2007 inclusive.
A security review of the site took place on April 1 and security staffing levels have been maintained at adequate levels, she said.
She said the HSE is negotiating the disposal of this site and the proceeds of any sale will be re-invested in the HSE’s mental health services.
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