All-Ireland winning hurlers among St Flannan's staff opposing plans for community hospital

All-Ireland Winning Hurlers Among St Flannan's Staff Opposing Plans For Community Hospital
The site proposed for the new community hospital is on the grounds of St Flannan's College in Ennis. Photo: PA Images
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Gordon Deegan

All-Ireland winning Clare hurlers Tony Kelly, Brendan Bugler and Jamesie O'Connor are among a group opposing plans for a €25 million HSE community hospital for a green field site at St Flannan’s College in Ennis.

The three are teachers at the secondary school and have appended their names to a group staff objection to the planned 100-bed hospital proposed for the Church-owned site on the college grounds.


They are joined by 72 other staff members who are supporting the objection which has now been lodged with Clare County Council.

In their objection, the staff told the council that the proposed hospital “will have a seriously negative impact on the student population of St Flannan’s College”.

The objection added that for the past two academic years the school has had its two largest enrolments ever, taking in 240 first-year students each year.

“St Flannan’s College is the only school in the town with the potential to expand if needed. We believe that it would be incredibly short-sighted were the lands to be taken away from any future development.”


The objection added: “The green field site at St Flannan’s College is the last remaining of its kind in Ennis. Urban sprawl is taking up much more of our green spaces each year. Once built, this land will be gone forever.”

Playing fields

While the staff members said they recognise the need for a new community hospital, they said: “We believe that there are several more appropriate sites available for development.”

The objection also argued that the proposed site is currently in daily use as playing fields, and: “We believe that no other sporting facility in Ennis would be built upon as it is proposed for our developed playing pitches.”

The objection comes as the local Catholic Church is planning to sell the lands to allow the HSE to advance its plans for the new community hospital.


The diocese of Killaloe is proceeding with plans to sell the site despite opposition from the school's board of management.

On behalf of the school's board of management, principal Fr Ignatius McCormack told the council that “the board is of course well aware of the need for a suitable site for the proposed hospital, but respectfully suggests that other suitable sites, which do not cut across existing intensive use by a large proportion of the youth of the area must be available”.

Fr McCormack added that “it surely cannot be the case that the provision of proper healthcare and the provision of sporting facilities for the youth of the area must be placed in conflict”, and that the board of management “endorse the apprehension expressed by the planning authority that the scope of future expansion (of St Flannan's College) will be curtailed by the proposed development”.

Despite the board's opposition, Bishop of Killaloe Fintan Monahan has confirmed that it remains the diocese’s intention to press ahead with the sale of the site to allow the hospital plans to proceed.


In February, Fr Albert McDonnell, on behalf of the diocese’s property arm - the St Flannan’s (Killaloe) Diocesan Trust - provided a letter lodged with the council which stated that the Trust does not intend to use the planned hospital site for the future development of the school.

Fr McDonnell said the site “is on the periphery of the campus and in the event that the school requires expansion in the future, the Trust believes that there is ample space in the remaining lands for this to occur”.

A decision is due on the application at the end of the month.

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