Momentous occasion for Wicklow as sod turned at new hospice site

Health Minister Simon Harris turns the sod with Bill Porter of Wicklow Hospice and Sister Choi.

Spirits were high at Maghermore today as the hard work of many volunteers was celebrated at the turning of the sod for Wicklow’s new hospice.

More than €4m has been raised through years of fundraising by volunteers, charitable donations and a contribution from The American Ireland Fund.

The State is also providing €1m in funding towards the cost of building the facility and will help fund the fit out costs.

Founding members of the Wicklow Hospice Foundation Building Project were joined by Wicklow’s TDs including Health Minister Simon Harris, who has been a long time supporter of the project and successfully secured €1.25 million during his time as Minister.

Also present were patrons who helped out massively with raising funds and awareness for project, including famous actor Daniel Day-Lewis, journalist Valerie Cox, and former Irish Rugby player Shane Byrne.

Members of the Wicklow Hospice Foundation Building Project Committee and Daniel Day-Lewis.

Chairman of Wicklow Hospice Sean Dorgan gave a fantastic speech which recognised and paid tribute to the work of those who made the project possible; the Columban Sisters who kindly donated the land at Maghermore; the countless hours of work put in by the founding committee members, Wicklows TDs and Councillors; special patrons of the project; and the incredible generosity of the entire Wicklow community.

Health Minister Simon Harris said he was honoured to be able to celebrate “this very special day for the people of County Wicklow.”

“I want to pay tribute to the army of volunteers who gave so much time and energy to fundraise and the wonderful people of Wicklow for their great generosity in donating. This fundraising, along with funding of €1.25 million from the Government, has made the dream of a hospice in Wicklow a reality,” Minister Harris said.

The 15-room hospice is being constructed by the Elliot Group, with the building expected to be completed within 18 months.

Expecting to accept residents by the end of 2019, the hospice will offer day care, outpatient clinics, respite care and access to multi disciplinary specialist services.

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