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€400,000 spent on security for empty hospitals

THE taxpayer has been forced to foot a €400,000 security bill for three new community hospitals finished last year but which remain idle.

The hospitals cost €55m to build and were handed over to the Health Service Executive (HSE) almost 12 months ago.

However, all three Cork facilities -- with a total capacity of 250 beds -- remain non-operational due to logistical, funding and staffing issues.

The HSE last night said that it hopes to open two of the centres over the coming months on a phased basis.

However, it said a third facility will have to remain unopened until sufficient staff to operate it becomes available.

The three units are in Ballincollig, Farranlea Road and Gurranabraher.

Irish Independent