Celebrities chip in as cook book brings hope to motor neurone disease sufferers

Ralph Riegel

FOR Taoiseach Enda Kenny, it has to be stir-fried pork fillets.

Golden Globe-winning actor and 'Gathering' critic Gabriel Byrne prefers chicken tagine with simmered apricots.

The late Maeve Binchy's personal kitchen secret was potato cakes with smoked mackerel.

Sixty of Ireland's best-known celebrities have now combined to offer their favourite recipes for a charity cookbook to raise funds for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association (IMNDA).

Maeve Binchy's recipe was received in the post just 24 hours after she died – and was the last thing hand-written by the award-winning author.

President Michael D Higgins said he would have the cookbook placed in the Aras an Uachtarain library while sales are expected to soar after the high profile given to the disease by the late RTE broadcaster Colm Murray.

The cookbook, entitled 'Food for Hope', will be launched by chef Neven Maguire and Newstalk's Jonathan Healy in Cork on September 11.

The cookbook was the brainchild of Cork woman Katie Hallissey, whose father John died from the disease in 2010.

"We are extremely grateful that so many of our well-loved Irish celebrities, from all walks of life, have lent their support," she told the Irish Independent.

Over 300 people are battling motor neurone disease in Ireland at any one time, with the greatest number of cases in Dublin and Cork.

The IMNDA provides home nursing support, financial assistance, the loan of specialist medical equipment, and supports research into the causes and treatment of the condition.

'Food for Hope' will be stocked in bookshops nationwide. Tickets for the 'Food for Hope' launch are available from www.imnda.ie.