The Bishop of Killaloe, Dr Willie Walsh, has donated lands worth €10m for the construction of residential housing and a day-care centre to cater for the growing elderly population in Ennis, Co Clare.

A major initiative to raise €2m to build the project is being organised by a specially appointed group, the Cuan an Clar committee, established to oversee the development.

The lands consist of 15.5 acres of prime development land located at the back of the Cahercalla hospital.

It is planned to build a dedicated day care centre to cater for 60 people and 12 individual houses specially for older people.

The most recent census showed there were 1,300 elderly people living in Ennis, and most of them alone. The new development is designed to meet the housing needs of a group which is expected to grow significantly in the years ahead.

Committee chairperson Jackie Brown said the donation of valuable lands by Bishop Walsh was an unprecedented gesture of generosity. She said without the donation the project could never have got off the ground.

The new facility is also designed to take pressure off acute hospitals, as proper residential and daycare services could help to avoid the admission to hospitals and care institutions of older people.