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A computer-generated view of how the redeveloped Good Shepherd Convent might look.
A computer-generated view of how the redeveloped Good Shepherd Convent might look.
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Developers must identify all undocumented graves at former Good Shepherd site

THE developers planning apartments on the former Good Shepherd Convent site in Sunday's Well have been told they must carry out a geophysical survey to identify all possible undocumented burials and graves.

City Hall planners said research on the records of residents of the institution, numbers of recorded deaths and recorded burials including an assessment of the likely occurrence of undocumented burials of children are required in the context of evidence from comparable institutions in Ireland.

Moneda Developments Limited are seeking planning permission for the partial demolition of the site and its redevelopment for 234 apartments.

The site housed a Magdalene Laundry which operated for many decades and there is huge concern about the number of possible unmarked graves at such institutions both in Cork and nationwide.

Cork City council has now asked the developers to supply further information on their plans.

According to planning documents this further information should include: "Detailed mitigation measures to identify possible undocumented burial places and graves. A geophysical survey and test trenches of all anomalies identified in the geophysical survey is required"

"The testing should be conducted by a team with appropriate expertise in identifying burials," the Council said.

Planners also noted the existence of the Magdalene or 'penitents' graveyard. They said that while the graveyard was not within the boundary of the current proposal its significance cannot be overlooked.

"Please submit revised proposals to develop and enhance the Magdalene Burial Ground as part of the overall development of the subject site. This should include a revision to the rear walkway giving access to the western graveyard to include universal access from the vicinity of the bakehouse. Dedicated visitor parking should also be provided," the council said.

The Justice for Magdalenes Group had already asked Cork City Council to ensure the identification of all human remains on the site as well as access to the graveyard of the Magdalene women.

As well as the issue of undocumented graves, planners also raised a number of other issues such as concern over the impact the development will have on traffic asking the developers to reduce the density of apartments.

They also want the height of some of the apartment blocks to be reduced and others to be replaced with own-door houses with gardens.

The developers now have six months to respond to the request for further information.