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An Bord Pleanala pave way for new disability complex in Killeigh

Thursday, 21 June 2018

An Bord Pleanala pave way for new disability complex in Killeigh thumbnailA view of the Mill House which will be transformed into a complex for people with disabilities. OH32-1-0017

AN Bord Pleanala has upheld a decision by Offaly County Council to grant permission for a residential care complex to accommodate people with disabilities at the Mill House, Killeigh.
When up and running the facility will employ 9 full-time and up to three part-time staff.
Manager of the facility, Kevin Miskelly has welcomed the decision, adding it had been a long and difficult process.
''We are very keen to get started, as we feel that it is a very necessary service and will be hugely beneficial to the individuals we will support.''
''We have fully refurbished the existing Mill Building and main house giving us 5 individual apartments, along with a communal dinning/ kitchen area.''
'' Each Service User will have their own individual apartment with a kitchen/ lounge, bedroom and bathroom. We also have a large communal kitchen for training in food preparation etc. There is a communal dinning room where Service Users are free to sit and eat together if that is what they chose to do. We also hope to provide a day service provision on the farmland to the rear of the property, with animal care, horticulture, woodwork and art. We will also be running educational programmes tailored to the individual Service User's needs,'' said Mr Miskelly.
The application to Offaly County Council attracted 140 submissions with some fearing the facility would be used to house those with a criminal background.
In granting planning permission Offaly local authority stipulated the building should ''be occupied and used by persons with autism and intellectual disabilities only and associated staff.''
However, some objectors were not happy and appealed to An Bord Pleanala outlining a number of concerns.
One submitted the applicants had no track record in Ireland and no permission from the Health Service Executive (HSE) or the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA).
The objector also argued the site was too distant from Tullamore or any other town.
Irish rural link also opposed the proposed development.
Meanwhile a nurse said the site was unsuitable for people on the autistic spectrum because it was isolated from community facilities and on the grounds of noise levels form agricultural activities.
The nurse submitted the proposal was haphazard and took no consideration of the local community.
Another said there had been failure by the applicant to communicate adequately with locals.
Some one else said a ''potential client of the facility could represent a hazard to the community even with no malign intent.''
The Inspector for An Bord Pleanala reviewed the plans under a number of headings, including- Nature of Proposal, Principal of Development, Community Safety, Conservation Issues, Amenity, Public Health, Traffic Safety, Appropriate Assessment/Environmental Impact Assessment.
The inspector found that ''the proposed use would be as a privately ''operated for profit facility to provide an appropriate short term location for people with autism or intellectual disabilities for holiday purposes.''
The Inspector said there was ''nothing to indicate that the proposal would be used by people deemed to require secure accommodation or special management.''
Manager, Kevin Miskelly said it is their primary objective to ensure that ''the appropriate supports are provided at the correct time to ensure that the Service User has the opportunity to lead a life of their choosing as a valued and equal member of society.''

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