Kildare TD opposes plans for therapeutic farm for people with mental health difficulties

ireland
Kildare Td Opposes Plans For Therapeutic Farm For People With Mental Health Difficulties Kildare Td Opposes Plans For Therapeutic Farm For People With Mental Health Difficulties
The planner’s report recommended that planning permission be granted to Kyrie Therapeutic Farm for the ‘step-down’ mental health facility to be located halfway between Straffan and Kill.
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Gordon Deegan 

A prominent Government TD has helped put the brakes on plans for a €6.5 million Therapeutic Farm that seeks to aid recovery for people experiencing significant mental health difficulties.

Fine Gael TD Bernard Durkan and two other parties have lodged appeals with An Bord Pleanála against Kildare County Council’s grant of planning permission for the Kyrie Therapeutic Farm.

The planner’s report, which recommended that planning permission be granted to Kyrie Therapeutic Farm for the ‘step-down’ mental health facility to be located halfway between Straffan and Kill, stated that the proposal “appears to be the first of its kind in the State”.

The Council planner stated that the proposal “is at a scale and nature appropriate to the rural and agricultural nature of the site”.

The centre is to have capacity for 40 residents. According to the planning notice, the farm is to be "an essential element of the overall programme of healing and recovery".

Recovery ambitions

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Its promoters state that recovery “will be facilitated through the creation of a healing environment combining a supportive community, therapeutic and holistic care and meaningful opportunities for participating in a natural farm setting in Ireland”.

The facility involves the construction of four four-bedroom residential units and four six-bedroom residential units along with a communal building.

However, a question mark has been placed over the entire project following the move by Mr Durkan and the two other parties, appealing the planning move.

Kyrie Therapeutic Farm has stated that it hopes to be up and running for March 2023 - but this was prior to the appeals being lodged.

In an interview on Friday, Mr Durkan said: "We need mental health facilities in a big, big way, but we don’t superimpose them  on a community. That is what is being done here, and it can be more damaging to the people that we are trying to help than helpful if they are superimposed on people and there is local resentment towards it."

He said the scheme “offends local people in the area who have applied for planning permission for one-off homes and being refused and the magnitude of the development also offends.”

Mr Durkan stated that “the problem is that this institution is being superimposed on a small local rural community in an area that has dangerous roads, no roads and narrow bridges”.

A spokesman for Kyrie Therapeutic Farm said on Friday that the appeals "could delay the farm by up to one year”.

He said that the construction period for the project would be around 12 months

A decision is due on the appeal at the end of August.

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