A large temporary mortuary has been constructed on the grounds of a Limerick military barracks, for the storage of the remains of coronavirus victims.
It is one of a number of temporary medical structures that have appeared in Limerick, and which have been fast-tracked, as the HSE ramps up its Covid-19 preparedness plans for an expectant surge in cases.
The Defence Forces barracks is home to the 12th Infantry Battalion, its reserves, as well as the Limerick Unit Naval Service Reserve (LUNSR).
A spokeswoman at the Department of the Taoiseach confirmed that “one such site that has been identified to assist with temporary mortuary capacity is the grounds of Sarsfield Barracks, Limerick.”
The spokeswoman said the government is working on the “provision of appropriate infrastructure and sites” where suitable.
In Ireland, we are still largely in the preparation phase, getting the country ready and putting the necessary infrastructure in place, in particular the medical infrastructure, to deal with the surge when it comes.
“This includes preparing for the wider consequences of the surge, including the provision of field hospitals to provide additional medical capacity, and the deeply sensitive issue of temporary mortuary facilities.”
“We will at all times be guided and informed by the need for compassion and care for the families who will be affected,” she added.
Works on a 120-bed field hospital at the Sports Arena at University of Limerick, Castletroy, is at an advanced stage.
Meanwhile, HSE Estates has engaged a number of contractors to construct two separate 24-bed en-suite isolation units, one at University Hospital Limerick and the other at Croom Orthopaedic Hospital, both come under the UL Hospitals Group umbrella.
“It is anticipated that both these projects will be complete in July. Both projects involve a rapid build steel frame system that facilitates an earlier start to construction work and a more streamlined process than would be possible on traditional builds,” said a UL Hospitals spokesman.
To cut down on the number of delivery trucks moving between the two hospital sites, much of the build is “manufactured off-site and brought to the hospitals as completed pods for installation”.
UL Hospitals Group CEO Colette Cowan said she was grateful for the additional resources and those involved on the ground who are constructing them.
“On the UHL site, foundations for the new 24-bed block were poured last Thursday, and since then, the building has been rising rapidly out of the ground. Construction personnel from the various contractors at UHL and Croom have been working long hours to help us add capacity in response to the pandemic,” Ms Cowan said.
I’ve been so impressed by the manner in which this vital work is being undertaken.
The HSE said it was not making any comment.