Sale of hospital to fund move for hospice

THE planned sale of a 140-year-old hospital will help fund the move to a new €55 million hospice facility, west of Cork city.

Marymount/St Patrick’s Hospital is vacating its historic city home at Wellington Road, St Luke’s Cross, ending a continuous caring link for the seriously ill and elderly, stretching back to 1870.

Now, possible alternative uses mooted for the linked Victorian buildings on five elevated acres above the city, include educational for space-pressed neighbouring schools or colleges, private hospital, apartments or other accommodation.

The northside buildings, mostly three storeys and looking south over the city, took their first patients from 1870, funded by a bequest from a city doctor, Patrick Murphy. He had asked a religious order, the Sisters of Charity, to care for seriously ill and cancer patients.

In 1875, an adjoining orphanage became part of the St Patrick’s hospital and convent institution, now run by a board as a voluntary hospital. It took on a leading specialist palliative care role in 1980.

A new chapter of hospice/palliative care for people with advanced and serious illness opens later this year when a new larger Marymount complex opens off the Curraheen Road /Ballincollig bypass.

Built on 10 acres at a total cost of €55m — including land purchase, fees and fit-out — it will almost double the number of beds for vitally needed hospice care for Cork city and county, in a bright, modern environment.

Hospice bed numbers will rise from 24 to 44, with a further 75 beds for care of the elderly, as well as a range of other services.

Confirmation of the proposed sale of the St Patrick’s Hospital/Marymount Hospice came this week via its chief executive, Kevin O’Dwyer.

Appointed selling agent Isobel O’Regan of Savills hopes it may make as much as €5m, given the scale of adaptable quality buildings (73,000 sq ft) on five acres, with further development potential.

The HSE is funding some €17m of the new Marymount complex, while Irish-American philanthropist Chuck Feeney’s Atlantic Philanthropies is committing €10m.

Continuing local fundraising is also contributing tens of millions of euro.

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