Retirement "village" in Clonmel would allow people live in "safety and security"

Eamonn Wynne


Eamonn Wynne



Local woman Mairead O'Donnell has proposed the establishment of a retirement "village" at the former Kickham army barracks in Clonmel

A local woman has proposed the establishment of a retirement village at the former Army Barracks in Clonmel.

Mairead O'Donnell from Seskin, Kilsheelan, says that the former Kickham Barracks would be an ideal location for older people.

"I don't think that houses for the elderly in new housing developments are a good idea, because many other residents are out at work all day and the elderly can find themselves isolated", she says.

"The former army barracks would be an ideal location because it's near a bus stop, and with the new Garda station being located nearby older people would feel safe and secure. It's also within walking distance of many amenities.

"Older people like to walk to shops and spend money in town. They don't buy goods online like the younger generation", she says.

Mairead O'Donnell believes that a retirement village in Clonmel should be considered for inclusion in the next County Development Plan, and could be modelled along the lines of McAuley Place in Naas.

In January 2000 a group of professionals, all living in Naas and aware of their own ageing, came together to plan the type of environment they would choose to live in if they could no longer remain independent at home but did not need full nursing care. 

They decided that they might not be able to manage a three or four-bedroomed house and garden but could easily manage a one-bedroomed apartment if it was located in the heart of the town.

They committed themselves to developing an alternative to institutional residential care for older persons and a model that would create a society for all ages. 

Located in the former Convent of Mercy in the heart of Naas, McAuley Place consists of 53 self-contained, one-bedroomed apartments; Convent Tea Rooms; an Arts and Culture Centre; a Community Centre;  a Volunteer Centre and a Health through Learning Centre, while an associated garden is being planned.

Visiting McAuley Place six years ago, President Michael D. Higgins stated that it should be used as “an exemplar nationwide”. 

"Older people could live with dignity in a retirement village like this", says Mairead O'Donnell.

"Larger houses would be freed up for younger families, and there would be a saving for the state if fewer people were moving into nursing homes".

Tipperary County Council purchased the eleven-acre site at Dillon Street/Davis Road occupied by Kickham Barracks after it was vacated by the Department of Defence in March 2012.

A new Garda station will be built on the site, while the Tipperary Education and Training Board (ETB) has plans to consolidate and deliver a purpose-built campus at Kickham Barracks.

Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT), which provides a number of business and speciality multi-media courses, proposes to develop a new campus within the site and provide more accommodation and room for expansion of their multi-media courses. 

A civic plaza is also included in the plans for the former army barracks.