Wednesday 24 January 2018

Poignant day as Respite Centre opens its doors

Olivia Ryan

THE Maria Goretti Foundation Respite Centre for Children with Disabilities was launched in Lordship with a poignant mass of celebration.

Nine years in the planning, the facility will cater for children with disabilities in Louth from after birth until they are 18 years old.

At the ceremony to mark the occasion on Friday last, Archbishop Eamon Martin, Coadjutor of Archbishop of Armagh said the centre would provide parents and carers with time and space to break from the often challenging demands of providing full time care.

The facility, was the brainchild of Cooley native, the late John Hanlon, whose determination to provide respite care for parents of children with disabilities was remembered at the mass.

John sadly passed away in 2008, but his campaign to provide a respite centre continued with the commitment of family, friends and a hard working committee.

The ceremony also heard that the creation of the unique facility was only possible with the donation of the site it is now built on by the late Monica McDermott of Lordship.

Speaking after the ceremony, John's daughter Sinead explained that the centre is expected to open on a phased basis initially, with four beds operational on a Thursday to Sunday basis, and it's anticipate that as resources become available the remaining beds will open by the end of 2015.

The services offered will include overnight stays and involve multidisciplinary team inputs.

The needs of each child will be assessed on an individual basis in consultation with families and other agencies involved in the care and education of that child.

Children on respite breaks will be provided with social, sport and leisure activities and will also be supported in attending their full-time education centres.

The Maria Goretti Foundation still needs to raise significant funding to complete the fit out of the facility which is located on a site donated by the late Monica McDermott of Lordship.

The Hanlon family along with a number of benefactors have funded the building of the facility, but as no state funding has been provided the committee will continue to work on vital fundraising.

Anyone who wishes to donate can do so by contacting the Maria Goretti Foundation on 042 93 73136 or email

The Argus

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