IE LIVE NEWS 04/07/2017 ... The fire at the former Our Lady's Hospital, Lee Road, Cork. Picture: Denis Minihane.Video with this.

A CITY Councillor has claimed a fire at an iconic building at the Our Lady’s Hospital campus was avoidable, saying “I told you this would happen.” 

The St Kevin’s building, a protected structure under heritage laws, was completely gutted by fire last night.

The building has been idle since its closure in mid-2002 and has been regularly targeted by vandalism and anti-social behaviour.

The HSE spent a “significant” amount of money repairing the roof of the building around three years ago after it was issued with a protection order, but the entire structure was destroyed last night.

There are now concerns that the building will have to be demolished if the integrity of the structure is damaged beyond repair.

Engineers and conservationists are to begin assessing the site when it is safe to do so.

City councillor Thomas Gould had been campaigning for years to have to building put back into use, suggesting it could be used for social housing to solve the city’s housing crisis.

He said: “I have been raising the issue of Our Lady’s Hospital for the past five years.

“It is a historical building, it is the longest building in Ireland and it is located in a beautiful setting overlooking the river Lee, it should be put to good use.

Cllr Gould said he is “livid” following the fire that has destroyed an entire section of the roof of the old hospital.

“I am livid, fuming, I am so angry.” Cllr Gould also highlighted the money being spent on securing the building.

“They are probably spending hundreds of thousands of euros on security up there and they will spend more making it safe after the fire.”

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