Planning approval has been granted for construction of a new facility at Owenacurra.

Planning granted for new Owenacurra site

Planning approval has been granted for the demolition of the Owenacurra Mental Health centre in Midleton and the construction of a new facility in its place.

In what has been hailed as a major milestone in the long-running Save Owenacurra campaign, Cork County Council has granted permission for the development of a ten-bed single story mental health rehabilitation residence on the existing site.

Commenting on the milestone announcement, local Social Democrats councillor Liam Quaide said: “The HSE's CEO Bernard Gloster and Cork/Kerry Chief Officer Tess O'Donovan must be commended for following through on the proposal.

“The new service will provide vital support for people with the highest level of mental health need in East Cork far into the future.”

Mr Quaide has been a key figure in fighting to retain facilities in East Cork.

The 24-bed Owenacurra centre was deemed not fit for purpose by the HSE in 2021 resulting in the relocation of many of its long-term residents, some of whom had called the facility home for 20 years, to less-suitable facilities outside of East Cork.

Following the decision to close the centre it was feared that the number of 24-hour staffed mental health placements in East Cork would fall to zero.

As well as the planned ten-bed facility on the Owenacurra site, the HSE has also recently acquired a property in Midleton for three residents and has committed to buying another three-bedroom property, also in Midleton, bringing the total number of 24-hour staffed placements in East Cork to 16.

Also welcoming the plans for a new facility in Midleton was Cork East Fine Gael TD, David Stanton, who said: “This follows through on a commitment given by Michael Fitzgerald, the then Chief Officer of Cork Kerry Community Healthcare in November 2021. Mr Fitzgerald had outlined that the site would be used for mental health services and that the HSE would be entering into discussions with the local authority and housing bodies regarding the future use of the site for the purposes of providing appropriate community housing and support to those with mental health needs.”