LATEST: Bessborough apartment plan, described by Cork TD as 'insensitive and hurtful', has been rejected

LATEST: Bessborough apartment plan, described by Cork TD as 'insensitive and hurtful', has been rejected

Computer-generated image of the proposed residential developments, including the Strategic Housing Development Gateway View, which have been earmarked for a parcel of land on the former Bessborough estate in Cork.

PLANNING permission for a housing development on the lands of Bessborough has been refused by An Bord Pleanála.

In November last year, MWB Two Ltd lodged a planning application with the planning board for 179-apartments in three blocks, as well as a creche, on privately owned land on the former Bessborough estate.

The planning board was not satisfied that the site was not previously used as a children’s burial ground.

The Bessborough Mother and Baby Home was once part of the estate.

“I very much welcome the decision of An Bord Pleanála this morning, to what was an incredibly insensitive and hurtful proposal to build on what was highly likely to be a Children’s Burial Ground," Sinn Féin South-Central TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said.

"These plans should never have been proposed in the first place.

“Today’s announcement is due in no small part to the many survivors groups and their advocates, who spoke so passionately at the oral hearing last month. 

"They never should have been put in a position where they had to come forward like this, but I welcome that their views have been listened to and acted upon.

“Many families are still seeking answers on where their loved ones are buried. I hope that today’s announcement is just the first step in getting these answers, and I would urge the Minister to ensure that a thorough investigation of the grounds of Bessboro takes place.

”The Department need to move on legislation to progress protection not only of Bessboro but all Mother and Baby Homes, and I would urge the Council to step in to protect the site against further applications."

Peter Horgan, Labour Local Area Rep for Cork, who made a submission to the Oral Hearing said:

"I welcome this decision as a formal signal that Bessborough is an area of historical and moral concern. It is a victory for the survivors and relatives of those who passed through Bessborough. This decision must be a watchword for the other application currently before Bord Pleanala and any applications that may be before the Local Authority. We need the Burials Bill to be progressed by the Oireachtas and we need a period of reflection for Bessborough. 

"It is clear that nobody wants development on the site of a children's burial ground. That is now evident through this statutory process. I want to pay tribute to the work of the survivors especially and the fact that there was a cross-party opposition to this development."

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