A SECURITY team has been brought onto The Good Shepherd convent site in recent days, prompting concerns from locals that access to graves will be shut off and construction work will begin without consultation.
Former Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald has called on the owner and developer of the site to implement a consultation process immediately in keeping with the conditions of the An Bord Pleanála ruling made last November.
Mr Fitzgerald said that An Bord Pleanála outlined that public representatives and local community groups were to be consulted prior to any work that might be carried out on the planning permission granted for 202 residential units on 7.8 acres at the site.
Moneda Developments, who bought the site for just over €1.5m, acquired the planning permission last November and then put the property on sale for €6.75m, with planning in place for the development.
However there has been unconfirmed speculation locally that the property has possibly been sold.
“I am very concerned about these developments,” Mr Fitzgerald said.
“A local area plan for the area needs to be put in place before any construction can take place on this site.
“The current road structure is not very conducive to development,” he said.
A spokesperson for the Good Shepherd Community Action Group, Tom Coleman, said the gates to the convent are closed, there is a ‘private property’ sign up and there is temporarily no entry to the grave of Little Nellie of Holy God.
Little Nellie, a child who died aged 4 in 1908, was said to have the mystical gift of ‘discernment’, which meant that she instinctively knew the will of God.
She is often referred to as the unofficial ‘Patron Saint of Cork’.
A security team is now on-site, according to Mr Coleman, who said he is “at a loss” as to what is going on.
“I genuinely don’t know what is happening.
“There is a lot of work to do prior to the commencement of any building.
“We were hoping for communication and cooperation with the developer or owner and now it looks like some development is happening without prior notice.”
Mr Coleman said that he would be watching this closely.
“There are many conditions to this development, we are not going to take this lying down.
“It is a very live issue. If construction happens it is in breach of An Bord Pleanála conditions which is very serious.”
The local community spokesperson said there appeared to be a lot of ifs and buts but no one to confirm.