Dr James Reilly Visits Thurles Co Tipperary

Seamus Hanifin

North Tipperary County Councillor Seamus Hanifin, speaking with Dr James Reilly and assembled members of the Tipperary Centre for Independent Living at their headquarters in Stradavoher, Thurles, Tipperary, yesterday. (Photo courtesy G.Willoughby.)

Minister for Health and Deputy Leader of Fine Gael, Dr James Reilly, visited the Tipperary Centre for Independent Living (TCIL) here in Thurles yesterday.

The Minister’s visit to the centre came about as a result of an invitation by North Tipperary County Councillor Mr Seamus Hanafin (Chairman of TCIL) and his Board of Directors, Mr Eamonn O’Dwyer, Cllr Mr Noel O’Dwyer, M/S Lucy McLaughlin, Mr Ger Sammon, and Mr Michael Hickey.

Cllr Hanafin warmly welcomed the Minister to the Tipperary Centre, and introduced him to the assembled gathering of Directors, the Management team of Pat Ryan, Anne Bolton, Lorraine Farrell, Mgt Moore, Gertie Moloney, employees and members.

Before taking the Minister on a tour of the facility, which includes a Computer Training Room, Beauty Therapy room, Wheelchair accessible Training Kitchen, Meeting room and a Function room, Cllr Hanafin spoke of the importance of TCIL to those experiencing isolation through, in particular, the lack of mobility.

Cllr Hanafin explained that TCIL is a service provider to the HSE through the Personal Support and Home Care Package with 120 Leaders around the county. They have 105 employees on a part time basis; all professionals, most with TCIL for many years and all of whom are nurtured and trained to the highest standards in keeping with the TCIL ethos of excellence and care, together with 25 people on two Community Employment Schemes, through the Dept of Social Protection. Between Thurles & Clonmel 500 hours per week / 25,000 hours per year of additional support is offered to people with disability, for their personal needs and social interaction and helping with continuous educational and training needs.

TCIL also run a fully wheelchair accessible Transport service in the county, which is subsidised to users for medical appointments, personal appointments and for social outings and occasions.

Cllr Hanafin stated: “The TCIL centre identifies a need to deal with isolation experienced by many and to provides a safe, suitable and accessible place for them to spend a few hours in a different environment and a place where they can provide other services and training. It has been a rip roaring success story, through the  facilities and networking opportunities it presents to the different groups involved in the Voluntary Sector. We have the Irish Wheelchair Association on Fridays, Morehaven on Wednesdays, Edel McGarry operates the EMPLOY ABILITY service from here, Bernardos, Cabragh Resources, Thurles Lions Club all use our facilities and by sharing our resources we also share our experiences and we are as a consequence able to better deliver to our Leaders.

During the Minister’s visit Mr Mark Costigan spoke with Mr Bernard Gloster, HSE Area Manager, Mid West Region.

M/s Edel Carey (left in red in picture shown above) from the Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) also welcomed the opportunity to speak to Minister O’Reilly on behalf of the Friday IWA group, latter which meet weekly at the TCIL Centre in Thurles.

Edel said that in recent months following an Advocacy Training Programme (funded through the Centre for Independent Livings National Advisory Group), people with disabilities from both IWA and TCIL had come together to voice their concerns about proposed cuts to Mobility Allowance and the Motorised Transport Grant. She informed the minister that the group had met with five local representatives in recent weeks where views and opinions were made known and she asked Minister O’Reilly to consult with these public representatives to know what people with disabilities, living in rural Ireland, are currently feeling in relation to these cuts.

Edel thanked TCIL for the ongoing support they offer to the Friday Group and for the sharing of Resources that TCIL offer to other agencies within the Disability Sector. She concluded by thanking Minister O’Reilly for his time and for allowing her the opportunity to speak on behalf of the group.

Speaking later the Minister, who had earlier visited the Hospital of the Assumption, in Thurles, and had confirmed that 11 new staff would be appointed by September, which would in turn lead to the opening of 10 more beds, thanked Cllr Hanafin & complimented highly all those involved with the running of  TCIL.


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