HSE proceed with plans for costly Beaumont convent purchase

by Rose Barrett
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BY Rose Barrett

In April last year, the HSE finally closed the purchase of the convent building, run previously by the Sisters of Mercy in Beaumont. In a sealed bid, the HSE paid €2.7m, circa 40 per cent over the recommended sale price of €1.9m.

A spokesperson for the HSE stated: “The Beaumont convent building has strategic value for the HSE and Beaumont Hospital. This value relates to the building’s location adjoining the hospital campus and its suitability for the re-location of non-core hospital functions from strategically important sites within the hospital thereby facilitating important future developments.”

When asked why the state health body paid so much over the asking price, the spokesperson replied: “The HSE had the property valued by an independent expert as to the market value…and submitted a bid in accordance with the advice received, in a closed bid tender process.  It was the view of the independent expert that the asking price for the property was below value to attract market interest.”

The tender bid process occurred in October 2020 and only in April last year did the sale finally close.

However, in October last year, Dublin City Council (DCC) Planning Department designated the convent building as a protected structure; therefore, a planning consent will become necessary for the proposed change of use prior to the HSE proceeding with the development. 

DCC described Beaumont Convent “as comprising of a 20th Century chapel and residence, which was added to the DCC Record of Protected Structures (RPS) by resolution” at DCC’s meeting held on October 4, 2021.

It further noted that Beaumont Convalescent Home was also a protected building, being a Georgian house, with granite entrance gate piers, gates and curved entrance wall.

In response, the HSE confirmed it was currently working on plans for the acquired building despite the protection notice: “The hospital’s design team have developed proposals and are currently in dialogue with DCC Planning department regarding these, as part of the planning process prior to submitting a planning application.”

The Dublin Gazette enquired if the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration & Youth (DCEDIY) had received any contributions from the religious organisation towards the Mother & Baby Compensation Scheme.

The DCEDIY responded: “Minister O’Gorman is currently engaged in meetings with the relevant religious congregations, including the Sisters of Mercy, in relation to the Mother and Baby Institutions Payment Scheme. As previously indicated when the scheme was announced, he is seeking a substantial contribution from congregations towards the cost of this scheme. An account of these discussions will be made available when they are concluded.”

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