‘Unfit’ Cork mental health facility reopens despite €1.3m spend on replacement property

A “not fit for purpose” Cork mental health facility previously marked for closure has reopened, despite the HSE spending €1.3 million on a replacement property that remains unused.

Millfield House in Blackpool has officially welcomed 10 residents to a rented facility at Garnish House in Cork city, which cost €586,000 to renovate, a response to a parliamentary question from Green TD Neasa Hourigan revealed.

That figure, together with the more than €900,000 spent on providing private security to Millfield House after its holiday at the start of Covid-19, means that just under €1.5 million has been spent on maintaining and renovating a property that the HSE valued it at only €630,000. in 2020.

Meanwhile, another €1.3 million has been spent on purchase and renovation of the former Glenwood House B&B in Carrigaline, a property that has never reopened since it was purchased by the HSE in January 2021.

Glenwood House was first scheduled as a replacement for Millfield House in the HSE’s 2021 capital plan, and the Carrigaline property will be redeployed as a residential mental health facility “replacing existing HSE-owned housing unfit for purpose ( Millfield House High Support Hostel).

Regarding the reopening of Millfield, a HSE spokesperson said residents of the facility said “the refurbishment project has transformed their lives and is allowing them to live much more independent lives.”

“The investment in Millfield House and the two new apartments offer residents a much higher standard of accommodation and allow us to provide an exceptional level of rehabilitation care, meeting residents’ needs,” they said.

However, the spokesperson declined to say what Glenwood House will be used for, noting that the building had been the subject of an appeal to An Bord Pleanála in relation to its application for a change in its designated use, and that permission was eventually obtained. was granted last October.

“We are currently reviewing the future use of Glenwood House,” the spokesperson said, similar to the response given when the Irish Examiner He made the same query last March.

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Glenwood was purchased from the sister of Cork/Kerry’s then head of mental health services and was once envisaged as a replacement for the Owenacurra mental health center in Midleton, due to close in June 2021, and about 30km from Carrigaline .

East Cork Social Democrats local councilor Liam Quaide, a leading supporter of the local campaign to save the Owenacurra service, said the HSE’s decision-making around Glenwood House, Millfield House and Garnish House was “notably worrying”.

“It is disconcerting that Millfield House is reopening its doors after renovations that cost less than half the total expenditure on Glenwood House, which remains empty three and a half years later,” Mr Quaide said.

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