Asbestos in ruins of burned out convent

Asbestos has been found in the ruins of a former convent gutted by fire.

Asbestos in ruins of burned out convent

KPMG, which has responsibility for the Good Shepherd site on the northside of Cork city, confirmed the discovery yesterday.

A spokesman said KPMG representatives met with its building advisers and city council officials on Monday and walked the entire site to inspect the boundaries.

“During this walk they came across two out-buildings on the southern side of the site. These outbuildings have asbestos roofs,” KPMG said in a statement.

It was agreed to use hoarding to immediately block access to these buildings.

“Long term, either the building can be demolished, in which case the asbestos will have to be removed from site or a maintenance procedure can be put in place to ensure access to the buildings is prevented,” the spokesman said.

“In the short term, the council is happy access is being blocked off and that the matter will be dealt with in greater detail in the scope of works document to be submitted.

“The council have also expressed their satisfaction to date with the works which have been carried out to make the site safe since the fire occurred.”

The Good Shepherd Convent operated a Magdalene Laundry and orphanage on the Sunday’s Well site from 1874 until late 1977.

The buildings have lain derelict since a serious fire in 2003.

The site was bought in 2005 by a developer who secured planning permission to develop apartments but the project stalled.

In May 2010, the site was seized by Ulster Bank which appointed KPMG as receivers.

Fire broke out in the main Victorian-era building last Tuesday morning.

Fire fighters and forensic experts said the fire had all the characteristics of a fire that had been burning for several hours before they arrived on scene just after 7.30am.

Gardaí, who believe the fire was started deliberately, are still investigating the matter.

KPMG has appointed an engineering firm and architects with expertise in conservation, to draw up proposals for how the unstable building will be made safe and secured.

Given the building’s protected status, any proposals will have to be agreed by City Hall.

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