Fears for safety of vandals targetting St Felim’s
The historic St Felim’s Hospital building on the outskirts of Cavan Town is being targetted by vandals, who have caused thousands of euro of damage at the property in recent weeks.
Gardaí have been alerted by the current owners of the property, Pepino Place, a company owned by Paul Elliott from Elliott Properties Ltd Construction.
Dozens of windows have been smashed, internal stud walls ripped apart and bathroom sinks and doors have been ripped out and flung from the old building.
“Doors were pulled off the hinges and old sinks and bathroom fittings were also removed and then thrown out through the broken windows and sent crashing three and four storeys to ground level,” detailed Barry Reilly, health and safety manager with Elliott Properties Ltd Construction.
Heavy stones from an archway over the stairs in a hallway were also ripped out and left to cascade in a dangerous manner down the stairs.
Mr Reilly told the Celt last week that he was checking the buildings on Friday, February 10, when he discovered the “extensive damage”.
“They pulled the plywood off windows and doors in at least five areas. It had been screwed to the frames of the windows. When they gained access, they smashed out the glass in windows,” he revealed.
While much damage has been done, the owners are particularly concerned about the health and safety of trespassers as they say parts of the building are unsafe.
“We are mainly concerned about the safety of people who enter the buildings. As you can see here today, the building is very unsafe,” said Mr Reilly.
Signs have been erected at the property highlighting the dangers. They read: ‘Dangerous Buildings – Serious Risk of Injury’.
Mr Reilly pointed out that the buildings have areas that are three and four storeys high. “There are holes in the floors and they are very unstable and you could go down through them very easily,” highlighted the H&S manager.
The Anglo-Celt understands there are some reports of youths coming and going from the location on a number of occasions.
The owners are now considering installing CCTV cameras on the site, monitoring same and reporting any suspicious activity to gardaí.
A team of workmen were deployed on the site last week to tidy up the destructed areas and remove all broken glass and broken sanitary ware and slates that have been thrown around the place. The doors and windows were also boarded up again.
“We are also endeavouring to close off any areas that might deter people from entering the buildings. We want to try and preserve the buildings as much as we can and keep people safe,” said Barry Reilly.
Parts of the property are listed as a protected structure under the Cavan County Development Plan.
“They are fabulous buildings and we would be hoping over the next while an opportunity might come up, so that we might find a use for one of the buildings and then renovate it to suit whatever is required at that time,” revealed Mr Reilly.
Pepino Place purchased the building on circa 11.5 acres in November 2019 for an undisclosed sum. It has been listed on the market in excess of €200,000. Members of the community has lobbied, unsuccessfully, for the property to be purchased and developed for community use.
Gardaí confirmed that they are investigating the acts of vandalism at the property. They are appealing for information from anyone who may have seen people entering or exiting the site at any time in early February to contact them, in confidence, at Cavan Garda Station.