THE HSE intends applying for planning permission to convert the church and Chapel of Rest on the grounds of Portlaoise hospital into conference rooms and offices.
The HSE gave notice last week to Laois Co Council that it intends seeking permission to reconfigure and change the use of the Roman Catholic church on the hospital grounds to provide ‘additional meetings rooms, conference space, offices and ancillary accommodation’ over two levels, with the introduction of a new first floor to the chapel.
The HSE proposes linking the proposed construction to the existing administration block at both ground and first-floor levels, with a new ground floor entrance. The proposals will also see the demolition of two existing porches and minor internal works to the existing administration building.
In May, when asked by the Laois Nationalist to confirm what plans it had for the Chapel of Rest and what plans it had provided for families, who in the future may wish to use the Chapel of Rest on the hospital grounds, a spokesperson replied: “Portlaoise hospital has an ongoing campus development programme to address immediate and long-terms needs of the hospital. As part of this, the hospital is exploring ways to better utilise the existing infrastructure to create more improved and additional clinical spaces by relocating office space.
“Hospitals do not routinely provide removal services, however, on occasion (only three so far this year and six in total last year), families and/or local undertakers have requested the use of the Chapel of Rest.
“Should the improvement works commence, the hospital is aware and has engaged with community service at the St Fintan’s campus, who may be able to facilitate such removals, from the church on its grounds, should they be requested in the future.”