Construction is underway on a ‘uniquely mixed care home model’ to house the city’s Little Sisters of the Poor and about 80 residents on the Abbey Road in Ferrybank.

Martin Cullen TD, Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, officially turned the sod on the new E20m building during a ceremony attended by many of the Sisters and Waterford and Kilkenny mayors, brothers Jack Walsh and Tomás Breathnach last Friday. The well-known site was formerly occupied by the old convent and school belonging to the Sacred Heart of Mary sisters.

The new three-storey facility will consist of the Sisters’ own residential accommodation, along with 48 care rooms complete with ensuites and 22 self-contained apartments for between 70 and 80 residents from the congregation’s old building on Manor Hill. The plans also feature an internal street area with a restaurant/library and shop, a training centre and community hall.

“I am delighted to be here today in Ferrybank to turn the sod on this new facility and care home, which will contain the highest quality residential apartment units and care facilities managed by the Little Sisters of the Poor, in a new building which will transverse the boundaries of both Waterford and Kilkenny”, the Minister commented.

“An investment will be made in the facility by the Sisters of over €20 million and I would like to compliment Sr Joseph and indeed all of the Sisters on this initiative – which is not just an important investment in and by the Community of the Little Sisters but also an investment in the City of Waterford and a wonderful asset for older people within our community.”

The Little Sisters of the Poor is an international congregation of women religious who dedicate their lives to the care of older people. Founded in Brittany, France in 1839 the congregation soon spread worldwide. The first foundation in Ireland was in Waterford in 1868, when the Order rented a house in Adelphi Terrace. The congregation moved to the St. Joseph’s Nursing Home, a protected structure, on Manor Hill in 1874.

About 70 construction jobs will be generated during the construction of the new care home.