WEST Cork will have its first residential centre for adults with autism, after lands were kindly donated to a Kilbrittain committee spearheading the campaign.
The Kilbrittain Autism Tractor Run committee, who have been raising funds for their local ASD unit for many years through their popular tractor runs, have been instrumental in pushing what will be a first for the region.
They recently met with Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Minister for Disabilities Anne Rabbitte to discuss their proposal for the construction of a centre for adults with autism in West Cork.
Speaking to The Southern Star, chairperson of the committee Jim O’Mahony said they have been raising money for their local ASD unit in Kilbrittain National School for the past 10 years, and have raised over €100,000 since they started in 2013.
‘People have supported the annual tractor run generously with their time and money, but parents of children with autism are concerned for their children’s future too due to a lack of residential facilities for adults with autism in the West Cork area,’ said Jim.
‘We want to sincerely thank John and Mary McCarthy (aka JMC Parts) who have generously made lands available in Dunmanway for this facility. We have also registered our group with O’Mahony McCarthy Accountants for charitable status.’
Jim added that Pat Horgan and Emma Power of Henry J Lyons Architects have produced a pioneering design for a facility based on international best practice, and that the development will be the country’s first-of-a-kind purpose-built facility with sensory gardens and pods.
‘We hope to get local authority and government supports for the realisation of this project.’
He said their recent meeting with the Taoiseach and Minister Rabbitte was very productive.
Micheál Martin commended the group for their proactive approach and he recommended that a meeting be sought with the HSE.
Minister Rabbitte was instrumental in organising such a meeting then with HSE personnel.
‘Our meeting with the HSE was very positive and we were delighted to receive their support in advancing this project.
Meanwhile, Minister Rabbitte promised to use all her resources to support the visions, ambition and energy demonstrated by the group.’
Minister Rabbitte said it was an ‘exciting project and one which could be a blueprint for the rest of the country.’