In a move aimed at accelerating the provision of the proposed new 50 bed unit at St Patrick’s Hospital in Waterford, City Council members Hilary Quinlan and Tom Cunningham of Fine Gael have called on the Council to do all within its power to facilitate the development, including delisting where appropriate the old convent building within the hospital grounds.

They have submitted to Council a motion to that effect and Cllr Quinlan, Chairman of HSE South Regional Forum, said it was critical that all the preparatory work in finalising the site for development of the unit was done as quickly as possible, to clear the way for the project.

“The preferred location is the grounds of St Patrick’s and the site of the old nursing home is considered ideal”, he said. “The fact that the building is listed is an impediment to the development and in view of its very poor condition Cllr Cunningham and I feel the Council should review its status as a listed building”.

Cllr Cunningham stated that it was of huge importance now to focus on hope for the future rather than the anguish of past decisions. “The provision of this 50 bed unit is St Patrick’s best hope for the future and it is important, in the interests of patients and staff, for the Council to demonstrate that when it can act it does so decisively and as speedily as possible”, he added.

The two councillors have also written to the City Manager asking that an inspection and dilapidation report be completed into the condition of the building. Cllr Cunningham said that, without pre-empting what the report would say, it was quite obvious the building was in a seriously dilapidated condition and it would be very difficult to justify the money needed to bring it back into any kind of usable condition.

“We must be pragmatic about these matters, particularly where the very survival of St Patrick’s is at stake”, he asserted.