THE sight of the old Our Lady’s Hospital as one of the first visual landmarks as you enter Ennis has been branded a ‘very sorry spectacle’.
Ennis councillor James Breen has also said that the condition of the historic building is ‘dereliction at its highest’ and immediate upgrades need to be made to keep the image of the county town intact.
The run-down building closed its doors in 2002 and the building’s condition has since deteriorated while it has also been the open to serial vandalisation over the last 15 years.
Our Lady’s first opened its doors in 1868, then known as Ennis District Lunatic Asylum.
The building finally closed its doors for the last time in 2002 and since then, it’s been the planning ground for a four-star hotel and then for a private hospital, neither of which came to fruition.
Today the 16.65 acre site is on the property market under Savills Real Estate agents in Cork with a guide price of €1.25m.
The property is listed as a protected structure and is also noted as an architectural conservation area.
Non-party Cllr James Breen recently posed a question to Clare County Council asking them to contact the owners to address the issue.
He told The Clare People that the town’s reputation will suffer if the building is not given attention before Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann and hundreds of thousands of visitors come to town this August.
“It was a very sorry spectacle to go into our capital town and that’s the first thing you see. That place is completely run down, windows broken. It should be immediately brought up to standard,” he said yesterday.
“It’s not on. It’s dereliction at its highest as far as I can see.”
Mr Breen said that the owners should now be encouraged to address the building’s broken windows and restore the ‘beautiful’ building to its former glory.
“Whoever are the owners of the building should be made paint it, put the windows back etc etc because it’s a derelict building at this stage and we can not have that in the interest of our lovely town.
“The way the outdoor workforce keep our town, it’s a credit to them, but then you’re hit with that coming into town which is not on as far as I’m concerned,” he explained.
He also maintains that it is ‘absolutely’ up to the council to have this issue resolved as a matter of urgency.
“You’re coming in now to Fleadh Cheoil in August and we want the image of our town to be good, not to be looking at this,” continued Cllr Breen.
“We’re vying now to win the overall award for the tidy towns competition and to see that type of thing, that’s not on.”

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