Call for excavation of graves at Good Shepherd convent site

Call for excavation of graves at Good Shepherd convent site

Barry Sheehan, Sarah Byrne, and Phil Allen, members of the Action Group formed in opposition to the redevelopment of the Good Shepherd Convent, at the Strawberry Hill Community Centre, Strawberry Hill. Picture: Jim Coughlan

A full investigation into the extent of human remains at the Good Shepherd Convent in Sunday's Well has been called for before any redevelopment begins on the site.

Moneda Developments - a Dundalk firm - are planning 240 apartments on the 3.14 hectare site, which is a former convent but has been left empty since the mid-1990s.

Residents and local politicians have already raised concerns about traffic congestion, public safety, pollution, access for emergency services, height, privacy and an unmanageable population spurt but have also asked that the site is excavated to determine the numbers buried there.

“I'm calling on a full excavation to be done on the site, both inside and out of the buildings and down in the basements to see if there is anything there after the revelations of the Tuam mother and baby home scandal. I believe there is 100 unmarked graves in there so a full excavation should be done,” said Cork North West Cllr Kenneth Collins.

Cllr Mick Nugent said he would like to see the history and heritage of the site given consideration by the developers.

“The Magdalene graves, which were originally part of the convent, and now aren't – which is a question in itself – should be facilitated for visits. There needs to be an archaelogical survey of the site aswell,” he said.

“The development needs to be drastically scaled back. I had proposed orignally that the Council should take it over and maybe put in a park or some low scale, low density social housing. I would not support the current proposal. It needs to be scaled back for a whole host of reasons but there are history and heritage issues that need to be considered,” he added.

Cllr Collins also highlighted that there is a low proportion of social housing proposed which would be cut off from the other high-end apartments.

“Only 25 of the units are going to be social housing and they are going to be up in the left hand corner of the development. They are not going to be inclusive. They are hidden away,” he said.

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