A local Social Democrats councillor is calling for the repurposing of a property in Balcarrick, Donabate as a respite home for the psychiatrically and intellectually disabled.
Ardeen House, Balcarrick, Donabate, Co Dublin, which now lies vacant, has previously been used a respite home for residents of St Brigid’s Psychiatric Hospital in Ardee, Co Louth.
The HSE has recently responded to a parliamentary question tabled by Deputy Roisin Shorthall, which questioned the health board on the long-standing vacancy of the property.
Cllr Mulville spoke to The Fingal Independent on the issue: “As I understand it, the property used to be a respite home for residents of St Brigid’s psychiatric hospital in Ardee, Co Louth.
"Like in Portrane, residents there were able to come down for a stay at the beach to give them a break during the summer time. It was a respite, a holiday home and also a break for the families. It was for intellectual disability and for psychiatric patients.
“There’s a lovely view there of the beach, it’s a small bungalow but it was very popular back in the day but then I think about seven or eight years ago the HSE just left it idle.
"I know there was a local man, a caretaker looking after it, but then it started falling apart and people were breaking into it and it was being vandalised.”
Cllr Mulville pointed out there is a big demand for respite care for people with disabilities in Fingal.
A letter written by the HSE to Deputy Shorthall has confirmed the health board has commissioned a feasibility study on the property, with a view to repurposing the property as a respite facility.
According to the letter to Deputy Shorthall, the feasibility study indicates that “the current layout, age and condition of the house would require extensive work to bring this property into use as a respite house.”
The letter also stated a planning application would be required for the development.
The HSE are engaging with Fingal County Council regarding the boundary treatment of the property, it was confirmed.
The letter concluded: "The outputs of this engagement and the feasibility study will inform any decision on the future use of the property.”
Cllr Mulville said: “What I would like to see is a refurbished respite facility for families in North County Dublin so that people who have an intellectual or psychiatric disability would have the opportunity to have some respite in Donabate for a couple of weeks a year, and then the family carers themselves would have a bit of a break as well.
“Even before people were using it it was publicly owned property, so basically it’s State-sponsored dereliction, which is totally wrong. Basically it’s to restore it and refurbish it, it’s a great location beside the beach and the hotel, it’s a real kind of beauty spot.
"It would be a great place for the person themselves to get a break, and if the HSE was to green-light it, there would be great community support for that.”