It must be a dream come true for all those who toiled for a quarter of a century to see it come to fruition…
Thursday June 23rd 2022 saw the official opening of the long-awaited Tredagh Lodge Daycare Centre in Drogheda, with Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler TD unveiling the plaque at the beautiful Greenhills facility.
As the Minster rose to make her speech, the gentle sound of songbirds from the adjoining garden filled the bright and spacious room in which all the invited guests sat: this will truly be a place of peace and solace for those suffering dementia and Alzheimers.
“Blood, sweat, tears, coupled with lots of prayers and many, many years of fantastic work done by the local community have gone into this spectacular centre, proving that when communities come together, great things happen,” said Minister Butler. “This new daycare centre will be a vital resource for those living with dementia and their families in the Drogheda area.”
Mayor of Drogheda Michelle Hall thanked the tireless fundraising committee on behalf of the citizens of the town.
“Your hard work and dedication has paid off as we stand in this purpose built facility, large spacious rooms, kitchens, offices, garden and car parking, and more importantly still located in Drogheda,” said Mayor Hall. “Tredagh Lodge has a calmness that must relax those coming to the centre, the colour scheme especially picked out for persons with dementia. The photographs of Drogheda and nature offering soothing images. All the services that are offered for the holistic care of your visitors. It’s everything I’m sure you wanted and perhaps even more”.
The new daycare centre cost in excess of €1m to build, and received funding of €200,000 from Louth LEADER Partnership, but the majority of the balance came from fundraising events and donations.
It is fitting that the centre is opened this year as the national society is celebrating its 40th anniversary, and the local branch was started in 1996 to provide a service to those living with dementia in South Louth and East Meath.
"We want to acknowledge the many volunteers then and since, and we as a committee stand on the shoulders of some of those giants, and welcome their families here today; the families of Patsy Rice, Aidan Cullen, Anne Dunne and Jamie Heeney,’ said Gerry Leydon, Chair of the Drogheda Branch. “We have a great committee, like Ann Shortt, who has kept the momentum for 22 years and Noel Heeney and so many others.”
Deputy Ged Nash also recalled past members and efforts to get the centre built.
“I recall with fondness the early work myself and former councillor Paul Bell did with the late, great Patsy Rice and others to get the then Drogheda Borough Council to allocate the site to the Drogheda branch of the Alzheimer’s Society and I have always been happy over the years to support the incredible fundraising drives over the years,” he said.
“It is the absolutely relentless hard work of the local Committee, the massive generosity of the people of Drogheda, South Louth and East Meath and the major grant from Louth Leader Partnership that’s made this 20 year dream a reality”.
Also present were Louth TD Fergus O’Dowd, CEO of Louth County Council Joan Martin, new Cathaiorleach of Louth County Council Cllr Conor Keelan, new CEO of Alzhemiers Ireland Andy Heffernan, Cathy Reynolds ASI board member and daughter of former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds, Cllr James Byrne and staff and members of the local branch of Alzheimers Ireland.
There are an estimated 578 people living with dementia in Louth, and another 2078 in Meath. The new centre will care for 20 to 25 people daily and provide much-needed support to people living with dementia and their families.
The sensory garden is the next project on the cards, which will provide an extra comfort to the clients.
The final word of thanks went to Mayor Michelle Hall, to pronounce the centre well and truly open for service.
“Today is a day of celebration, and to Ann, Noel, Gerry, Carmel and all the other fabulous Drogheda people here today, know that we are eternally grateful to you all for your commitment on this the official opening day of Tredagh Lodge.”