Friends of St Ita’s Launched

The Friends of St. Ita’s Community Hospital, Newcastle West was launched in April, 2003 as a voluntary fundraising group tasked with assisting Management in the implementation of a number projects they were unable to get off the ground due to a lack of funding.

One of the top priorities was the provision of a hospice support unit for West Limerick, which became the main focus of our fundraising. And as one leafs through the pages of this book, the enormous success of our campaign towards this end becomes readily apparent. Indeed, the many Press statements and the catalogue of
photographs contained herein, very effectively, charter the progress of our success through its various stages.

And also serve to tell their own story in capturing the numerous, and often spectacular, fundraising events which have see us raise in excess of €2 Million over this last 5½ years or so. This indeed, is a truly phenomenal achievement by any standard, and all thanks to the outstanding support, and the unparalleled generosity of the very many wonderful people, clubs, groups, organisations, schools, the corporate and business sector and many more in the community. Indeed, one man in particular, namely, Mr. JP. McManus, merits special mention and to whom we owe enormous gratitude for his hugely generous allocation
of €¾ Million, from the JP. McManus Golf Pro-Am in July 2005, to our hospice project.

From the funds raised to-date we have been able to contribute €1.345 Million to the new hospice unit, which has been built and currently in the process of being furnished. Leaving the question of staff to open and run the unit still to be fully addressed. The latter is proving to be problematic due to the current economic climate. However, given the huge amount of voluntary funding invested in the project and the overwhelming public demand for its implementation, we remain hopeful that the unit will open in 2009! In addition to the Hospice Unit we have also funded a number of other projects at St. Ita’s including the provision of a new dayroom for Ward 6 at a cost of €200,000.00, a new patient minibus costing €64,000.00 and other essential equipment for the patients.

On behalf of the Friends of St. Ita’s Committee, I wish to take this opportunity, to express, once again, our ever grateful thanks and appreciation to the people of West Limerick and beyond for their wonderful support that has, indeed, become the hallmark of our success and, happily, which continues to flow with ever increasing enthusiasm and goodwill. Support, I might add, which has brought with it this unprecedented level of success that we could never have thought imaginable when we started out in April 2003 – truly astounding !
Also our very sincere thanks to both the broadcast media (Limerick Live 95FM – County News and West Limerick 102) and the print media (the Limerick Leader and the Weekly Observer whom we especially thank for their extensive coverage) Needless to say we are extremely grateful for the very positive publicity that we
continue to receive and which serves to keep the spotlight very focused on the progress of our fundraising activities.

I also wish to express our very grateful thanks to Ms. Mary Harney TD, Minister for Health and Children for giving the project the – all-important – go ahead in June 2005. And likewise our sincere thanks to all our local Politicians for their input into progressing this development which is so vitally important to West Limerick. And
to whom, we now look again, to get it “across the line”! In particular I wish to say a very sincere thank you to the members of our committee for all their very heard
work over the years and for their truly inspirational commitment and dedication towards the promotion and realisation of this very worthy cause.

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