PLANNING permission has been granted by Kildare Co Council for the development of a multi-million euro state-of-the-art cancer treatment facility at the former Magee Barracks in Kildare Town.
The proton clinic will be the first of its kind in Ireland and it is thought that the development will generate around 100 jobs locally.
The move has been broadly welcomed. Local TD Fiona O’Loughlin said: “A similar clinic in South Wales is said to be worth over €100 million to the local economy.
“This is exciting news both for the town and the whole area of cancer treatment in Ireland. I look forward to the next phase and the completion of this treatment facility.”
Local councillor Suzanne Doyle also reacted positively to the news.
I think it’s amazing. I think the fact that it’s a centre of excellence is key, that’s what we need,・ said Cllr Doyle, who noted the potential of attracting further activity to the area and highlighted positive factors such as proximity to the train station for travellers.
Cllr Mark Stafford also welcomed the development and the decision by Kildare County Council, describing it as “good news for Kildare Town and indeed for the county”.
However, Cllr Stafford noted his concerns regarding the potential demolition of the former Officers’ Mess.
Six buildings on-site are in line for demolition to make way for the development. According to a spokesperson for Kildare County Council, the Planning Department has confirmed that the buildings are not protected structures but had historical significance. However, the cost to return them to full use was too expensive, it was explained, hence the proposal for their demolition.
From plans available online, it appears that the former Mess will make way – at least in part – to facilitate a number of car parking spaces.
I don’t see the rationale for knocking down the Officers’ Mess to park a few cars, and I mean a few,・ said local activist Declan Crowe. ・ I would be concerned that if they knock down all of the structures ・ and I’m not too concerned with the other structures ・ if they knock down all of the structures, including the Officers’ Mess, there will be no visible trace of the army barracks that was there… Future generations might never know that there was an army barracks there.”
Mr Crowe suggested the building could be “put to many uses” for the benefit of the community and that it wouldn’t interfere with the construction of the clinic.
Cllr Doyle acknowledged the 都ignificant historical merit・ of the buildings and highlighted the works to preserve the Barracks’ old gates, adding that it will be a challenge to the ultimate developer to honour that heritage and history within the site・.