SPECIAL protections should be introduced for mother-and-baby homes, such as Bessborough, Roderic O’Gorman, the children’s, equality, disability, integration, and youth minister told reporters in Cork on Monday.
Speaking at a Green Party press meeting, Mr O’Gorman referred to measures taken by the Government in relation to previous planning submissions on the Bessborough land, when he was questioned about current applications.
“The Government has intervened in terms of the last two planning applications that were impacting on the area of the site,” Mr O’Gorman said. “It has been identified by the Cork Survivors’ Alliance, and others, as a potential burial site.
"I made a submission at the oral hearing before An Bord Pleanála and I was very pleased that An Bord Pleanála made the decision to refuse planning for the SHD, and subsequently Cork City Council made the decision to refuse planning permission as well.”
460 apartments are planned for lands at Bessborough. Estuary View Enterprises 2020 Limited, of Glandore, are in talks with the planning board regarding two potential applications: One concerning 184 apartments and a creche, and one concerning 283 apartments and a creche at Bessborough, Ballinure, Blackrock. A decision on whether the latest development can proceed will be made by November 22.
Mr O’Gorman said he had written to Darragh O’Brien, the local government minister, about planning applications, nationally, on mother-and-baby sites.
“The Bessborough [site] is a very large site, but I think there is a particular area of focus around the folly, where the maps indicate there is a potential burial site and we will continue to engage with Cork City Council, in terms of the protection of that land.
"I have written to the minister for local government and I have asked him to engage with all local authorities where there are mother-and-baby institutions and direct them that in their development plans, they would look at putting protections on those sites and I know that Cork City Council is undergoing their development plan and I think there is a real opportunity to put a real protection on that site.”