herald

Sunday 22 October 2017

The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity want to build a new convent and extend a nursing home at the site of a former Magdalene laundry in north Dublin.

The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity want to build a new convent and extend a nursing home at the site of a former Magdalene laundry in north Dublin.

A planning application was submitted to Dublin City Council and details multiple elements to the construction.

The development will initially involve knocking three two-storey dwellings at the current site at Beechlawn in Drumcondra.

Singer Sinéad O'Connor spent time at the Magdalene laundry at High Park when she was a teenager, having been admitted aged 14 for being a 'problem child'.

In 1993, the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity sold a site at High Park for approximately £1m (Punts), which was then developed into a small estate.

When the site was sold to the property developers, it emerged that 133 women who had been confined to the Magdalene laundry attached to the convent were buried there.

The discovery led to the establishment of the Magdalene Memorial Committee which later became the Justice for Magdalenes group.

Research previously unearthed by the Justice for Magdalenes group shows that during the 1970s the nuns who ran the convent at High Park received funding from the Departments of Justice and Health.

Further documentation has also shown that the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity had also received thousands of pounds from wills, legacies and public appeals from the 1920s to the 1970s.

Last July, the convent informed the then Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter that they would not contribute to a fund established for the survivors of the Magdalene laundries.

As part of their plans, the existing nursing home will receive extensive renovations including the addition a "19-bed, two-story and part single storey extension to the existing Beechlawn Nursing Home and a single storey extension to the southern end providing support facilities".

There will also be modifications to the façades of the existing nursing home and the car park will be extended to accommodate 30 parking spaces.

hnews@herald.ie

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