Expansion of the opening hours of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham

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Today Patrick Costello TD wrote to the Minister for the OPW requesting the expansion of the opening hours of the grounds of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham.

Full letter text:

Dear Minister O’Donovan,

I am writing to you today in my capacity as TD for Dublin South-Central on behalf of my constituents to request the expansion of the opening hours of the grounds of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham (RHK).

The onset of the COVID pandemic saw a huge increase in usage of our public spaces. These amenities offered an escape for many from the negative pressures that the pandemic brought. In the South-Central area this primarily saw increased usage of the nearby War Memorial Gardens at Islandbridge and indeed the Phoenix Park. Initially the grounds of the RHK were closed due to their usage as a temporary mortuary but I and the people of the area were delighted to see this valuable amenity reopen to the public in June 2020.

Since this point we have strived to plan as best we can. The theme of the summer is outdoors and we as politicians must do our upmost to facilitate that process. This has seen additional outdoor seat around our cities but must also see the expansion of the opening of our public spaces too. The RHK is unusual compared to other OPW sites in the city as its operating hours see it close at 6.30pm. By comparison spaces such as the War Memorial Gardens and St Stephen’s Green, also operated by the OPW, close at the later time of 8.30pm and dusk respectively.

Several constituents have contacted me regarding this discrepancy, and I believe that changes to the opening hours should be expanded in order to harmonize the RKA with other OPW sites. In terms of costings, I have been presented with estimated costs of €23,000 for security if the site were opened for an additional 1 hour per day. The cost in this regard would be lower in that I am requesting that the expanded hours would only apply to the summer months. While there is likely a few additional costs entailed aside from security, I believe it is an absolute necessity for the people of the South-Central area that these opening hours are expanded.

I would be happy to meet with you at your earliest convenience to discuss this matter further. I would similarly extend an invitation to meet you at the site and show you the valuable public good it provides.

I thank you for taking the time to given these matters due consideration and look forward to your reply.

Is mise le meas,

Patrick Costello TD