More than 140 HSE properties lie idle

Dispersed around the country are 142 HSE properties, all of them vacant, many of which have lain idle for more than a decade.

As the HSE contemplates their future, some properties are incurring significant security costs.

These properties lie idle as the HSE spends close to €40m every year on rent.

The properties compromise of former hospitals, health centres, mental health facilities, and office space.

Some of the properties have been idle for more than 10 years including St Kevin’s Hospital, in Shanakiel, Cork City, a listed property that has been vacant since 2003. Last year the HSE spent almost €7,000 on security at the site St Kevin’s shares with the former Our Lady’s Hospital complex.

In a statement, the HSE said: “A review of security at the property identified that foot patrols by security staff were considered too dangerous, due to the isol-ated, dispersed nature of the property. Motorised security patrols combined with physical security measures (eg security shutters) which are now in operation are considered more effective, in securing the property, and safer for security staff.

“The cost of security for the Our Lady’s site for 2012 was approx €7,000.”

Another on the list for over 10 years is St Senan’s Hospital in Foynes, Co Limerick, originally built as hotel accommodation for passengers travelling on the flying boats. It was identified in 2009 by Murray O’Laoire architects as a building that did “not contribute” to Foynes and they advised the HSE “should plant native species ... to screen it from the town”. The former hospital is up for sale.

Also on the list of “properties in transition” are Heatherside Hospital in Buttevant, which closed two years ago and remains idle, and the former Dingle Community Hospital in Kerry, vacated in 2010. Both are deemed “surplus to requirements” by the HSE.

The HSE admitted it did not have a value for the idle properties and refused to release the value of properties up for sale because of market sensitivity.

Fianna Fáil has called for an independent review of the HSE property portfolio.

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