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28/07/2021

Go-ahead given for huge 10-acre health park in Offaly

Go-ahead given for huge 10-acre health park in Offaly

Go-ahead given for huge 10-acre health park in Offalyff the Tullamore by-pass

OFFALY county council has given planning permission for a four storey 244 bedroom nursing home/rehabilitation and step down facility on the site known locally as Wellwood Health Park just off the Tullamore N52 by-pass.

John Flanagan Developments Ltd is the company behind the €36 million venture. Joint managing director Dominic Doheny said both he and John Flanagan are "delighted and thrilled" with the positive decision.

He congratulated the "large team" involved in getting the project over the line. He described the decision as the "first major step" in the process.

"This will be a sizeable 10-acre health park. We are talking to service operators both overseas and domestic as to the opportunities it can present," he said.

Mr Doheny said Covid has produced a lot of challenges for the HSE along with opportunities and he and his team will be having meetings in relation to these opportunities in the coming days and weeks.

He said the company plans to use as much of the original materials as possible from the unfinished hospital structure which is a familiar site on the Tullamore bypass.

While Mr Doheny said it is too early to give a starting date he expects the project will employ up to 150 people during construction.

When fully operational the original plan stated that it will employ around 270 people across all shifts.

John Flanagan Developments Ltd originally planned a private hospital on this site back in 2007. It did not proceed due to the global economic crash despite huge interest from leading medical operators from around Europe.

A statement from John Flanagan Developments Ltd said: "The rationale for developing a Nursing home/Rehabilitation/Step down facility makes sense on the Health Care Park. Nationally there is a huge shortage of nursing homes and hospital beds.

"The 2016 Census showed the population aged over 65 has increased by 19.1pc since 2011 and the projection is that the number of people over the age of 80 will have risen by 130,000 by the end of 2020. Healthcare experts predict a total shortfall of 7,500 nursing home beds nationwide by 2026."

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