Minister Varadkar opens St. Francis Hospice Blanchardstown

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Fundraising continues to provide expanded range of palliative care services for West Dublin community

Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar officially opened St. Francis Hospice Blanchardstown, at a blessing ceremony presided over by Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, D.D.  Located at Abbotstown, close to Connolly Hospital, the new €24.5 million 24-bed facility will provide a full range of specialist palliative care services in the West Dublin community.

Minister Varadkar said: “St Francis Hospice is a superb facility providing specialist palliative care services, and will reach more people in need of care. It will make a real difference to patients and their families. It’s here today thanks to support from the local community and very many others. The Dublin 15 Fundraising Group led by Fr Dan Joe O’Mahony and Fr Eugene Kennedy made a massive contribution of €7 million. I want to congratulate them for their fantastic effort, along with the Chairman Justice Peter Kelly, and the Directors of St Francis Hospice Dublin. There’s one person who can’t be with us today but we should remember him. Brian Lenihan secured the land. He is here in spirit, I am sure. It’s a real privilege for me to open the hospice and I am so glad the HSE was able to fund the opening of the hospice inpatient unit during my period as Minister.”

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Construction of the new hospice commenced in July 2009 and was completed in March 2011.  Provision of revenue funding by the Health Service Executive (HSE) to open its In-Patient Unit did not occur until 2014, with the phased opening of the 24 beds taking place between September 2014 and February 2015.   The new facility also acts as a base for the Community Palliative Care Team, an Education Centre and a Hospice Day Care Centre that opens two days per week. It is hoped to extend this to four days as funding becomes available.   The two hospices, St. Francis Hospice Raheny and St. Francis Hospice Blanchardstown, will provide a comprehensive range of specialist palliative care services to a population of 580,000.

The Hon. Mr. Justice Peter Kelly, Chairman of St. Francis Hospice, said, “The opening of our new Blanchardstown facility is critical to expanding the range of specialist palliative care services we can provide to the community.  The 24 new in-patient beds at Blanchardstown, in addition to the 19 beds we have we have available at our Raheny hospice, will greatly help reduce waiting lists for in-patient services. ”

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The construction and equipping of the new Blanchardstown hospice cost €24.5 million, of which €1.5 million was provided by the HSE towards the fit-out costs.   The balance was raised through fundraising activity and a bank loan.

Mr. Joe Fallon, Board Representative, St. Francis Hospice said, “The hospice is a vital and long-awaited service for the Blanchardstown area and indeed all of West Dublin.  As a charity, we are very dependent on the ongoing support and generosity of the wider community to help assist in repaying the €7.5 million bank loan and also in funding the day-to-day running costs of the new hospice.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank and praise the generosity of those who have contributed to our cause over the last few years and to add that any further financial support would be very much welcomed and valued.”
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About St. Francis Hospice

St. Francis Hospice is a voluntary, charitable organisation established in 1989 and provides a comprehensive specialist palliative care service for the people of the North City and County of Dublin from two hospice facilities, one at Raheny and the second at Blanchardstown.