Liam's Lodge gets planning permission

Dónal Nolan

Plans for a respite centre in Blennerville that would cater for children suffering from rare diseases has been given the go ahead, subject to a number of conditions, by Kerry County Council planners.

Liam's Lodge - the brainchild of the Heffernan family who lost both their children, Saoirse and Liam, to the rare Battens Disease - would bring up to 5,000 patients and families to Blennerville every year to access respite.

One local politician who wrote to the council last week urging them to give the proposal the green light described the submission as one of the most 'significant planning applications submitted to Kerry County Council during the past quarter of a century.'

Liam's Lodge - named in memory of Tony and Mary Heffernan's youngest child who passed away in May, 2014 - will comprise eight three-bedroom residential units, 14 two-bedroom units, a reception area, four therapy rooms, two sensory rooms, five physiotherapy suites, three offices with meeting rooms and much more on a site located near Blennerville National School and the windmill.

Fianna Fáil Councillor Michael Cahill wrote to the Council on Thursday, March 2, urging the authority to approve the plan.

"This is without doubt one of the most significant planning applications submitted to Kerry County Council during the past quarter of a century," Cllr Cahill wrote, saying it would be a massive asset for the families of children struggling with serious, rare diseases.

He claimed the centre would create up to 77 full-time and 24 part-time positions, with an initial investment of €10 million during the build and an annual contribution of €3.4million per annum to the local economy.

"In addition, each of the proposed 22 family units will provide 52 weeks of family respite for Ireland's sickest children and their families, bringing over 5,000 people to Blennerville and Kerry to gain services not available anywhere else in Ireland," Cllr Cahill wrote.


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