The HSE is to proceed with the disposal of the St Brigid’s Hospital site in Ballinasloe and lands that are surplus to requirements, Senator Maura Hopkins has confirmed.
The Fine Gael Senator raised the matter in the Seanad this week when she said that having visited the campus as part of the Architecture at the Edge Festival on Saturday last, she was struck by the significant deterioration of the buildings which has taken place in recent months.
“I fear that it will not take much more vandalism before we begin to lose these buildings forever. Our immediate priority must be to initially secure the buildings and in the longer term we need to set out an achievable vision for the future of the campus. I know that the current state of the premises is a major cause of concern for people locallym” she said.
“Ballinasloe people are incredibly proud of the town’s link with St Brigid’s and the role it played in the economic development of the region. It is essential that in realising the potential of the site that it once again becomes a key driver in the economic development of the town and wider region,” added Sen Hopkins.
In response to Senator Hopkins, Minister of State Finian McGrath confirmed that Oak Grove House is the last building which is still in service and purpose built accommodation is currently being developed. Once this building is vacated the HSE will proceed with the disposal of parts of the St Brigid’s Hospital site and lands that are surplus to requirements.
Senator Hopkins said that she has requested time-frames to be given on when this disposal is likely to happen.
“The protocol for disposal or sale of State Assets includes the transfer to another public body or State Agency or open market sale. Community uses will be considered if the first two options do not materialise. I want to see this site remain in state ownership so it can provide an avenue for economic growth for the town.
“The OPW has recently completed a report on the future of the site and it is currently with the property management section within the OPW. I want to see this report published as soon as possible.
“Ballinasloe is ideally located with direct motorway access to both Dublin and Shannon Airports, it is served by the Dublin Galway rail line and the campus is served by high speed broadband. Iam ambitious for the future of the St. Brigid’s site because we need ambition in order to realise the potential of the campus.
“It will not be an easy task and it is one which will require a significant level of investment. I will continue to advocate strongly for this site in order to secure that necessary funding,” she concluded.