St Gabriel’s Respite House nearing completion but with €1m shortfall

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aerial shot of completed St. Gabrie’s Respite House, Mungret, Limerick.
aerial shot of completed St. Gabrie’s Respite House, Mungret, Limerick.

The first purpose-built respite house in the country to cater for children with the most challenging physical disabilities and complex medical needs is about to open its doors following a €2.4million build.

St Gabriel’s Children’s Respite House, located in Mungret on the outskirts of Limerick, is a dedicated centre that will give respite breaks to children who require round-the-clock attention.

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The centre, which will cater for children from Clare, Kerry, Limerick and Tipperary, has been built to the highest possible spec and now the team behind it are launching a renewed appeal for donations to help meet the €1m funding shortfall.

The state-of-the-art, six-bedroom facility will be a ‘game changer’ for these children and their families, enabling the children to get a break themselves in a custom-built facility and their families some time to get every-day tasks done that are not possible otherwise due to the constant care needs of the children.

The 5-star facility has been developed at a cost of €2,481,635, with €1m already donated by the JP McManus Foundation, some additional funds committed but still with that €1million shortfall.

Last September the organisation launched its ‘St. Gabriel’s Children’s Respite House – is about time!’ – campaign to raise the remaining money to complete the build. And with Christmas around the corner now, CEO Máire O’Leary has appealed to the public to consider donating to the cause over the festive period.

“From its very inception in 1961, St. Gabriel’s has been about putting services in place to help make life as positive as possible for children with disabilities. Today, St. Gabriel’s provides the most advanced range of clinical therapies and interventions for over 600 children.  St. Gabriel’s Children’s Respite House is another stage of its advancement.  It’s a place for children to call their ‘home away from home’, their club, their getaway. It will be their own special space.

“We’ve devised a campaign to suit all budgets.  People can donate €100 for sensory play equipment or sponsor the plant room for piped oxygen and suction to all rooms in the house.  They could sponsor a room, a hoist; they might like to sponsor the bath that has yet to go in here, the whole house has not been named yet. There are all sorts of options.  This money comes in in small amounts, medium amounts, large amounts.  Every bit no matter how small or large. It all adds up.”

She said that the children St. Gabriel’s look after deserve a facility of the standard developed in Mungret. “Our children deserve the best. We have over 70 children attending the school, 22 of those children have a peg feed every day, 55 of them have severe epilepsy and 15 of receive palliative care nurse support.

“They deserve the best quality. They deserve 5-star quality and that’s what we did. We got the very, very best for them.”

Mary Quinlan, mother of 13-year-old Maia Quinlan from Limerick, said that St. Gabriel’s Children’s Respite House will provide priceless support and peace of mind to her family and over 100 other families in the region who need the support of the purpose-built facility.

She said: “We’ve always wanted to look after Maia at home. That’s been our top priority. We really feel that this new Respite House is a place we would be absolutely happy to see her coming for a little break from us and to meet her friends.

“It’s just such a beautiful building to come into the light, the murals on the walls, the space. I think it’s just going to make a beautiful home from home for all our children.”

“If there’s anybody out there who’s in a position to contribute to the fund-raising efforts for this building, each and every one of the parents and staff would really appreciate it. We just can’t emphasise how important it is to families like ours to get a break in order to be able to keep going into the future.”

Those wishing to donate to the campaign can do so by contacting Kate Sheahan, at [email protected].