Driver Galina Permanicka cut the ribbon watched by John Collins, Fr John Mockler and Ann McMorrow Picture: Dave Gaynor
THE sun shone as residents and staff at St Ita’s Community Hospital in Newcastle West gathered to welcome the arrival of a brand new bus, which will make life easier and a lot more interesting for them all in the months and years ahead.
The wheelchair-adapted Mercedes Benz Sprinter is a gift to the hospital from the Friends of St Ita’s and the voluntary group’s chairman, John Collins, as well as other members of the group, were there to share in the handing over ceremony last Thursday.
“It has been long awaited,” Ann McMorrow, director of nursing said, smiling with pleasure. “And it is and will be invaluable.”
The bus, with a capacity for four wheelchair users as well as 12 others, will be used, she said, to bring people to the hospital’s day services but will also be used by the residents, the people who live in St Ita’s. Eyes lit up as she listed out trips to Ballybunion, to the shopping centre, or to the races that would now be possible.
“Or Lisdoonvarna,” someone suggested to a lot of laughter.
It is a huge asset,Ms McMorrow said, especially for a rural hospital like St Ita’s and allows residents to go back into their own area and community.
“People give donations for the good work done here and it is great to see something tangible,” she added.
“It is great day for us,” John Collins, chairman of Friends of St Ita’s said.
“A lot of work has gone into collecting this money. I thank each member of the Friends. I especially want to thank the people who contributed, who gave money from the bottom of their hearts.
“The Friends have long contributed to the hospital and look forward to supporting them again in the future. The friends, volunteers and community are very proud of their efforts and very proud of the new addition to St Ita’s Community Hospital today”
Joan Cremin, who helps run the Day Hospital, made known their appreciation to the Friends of St Ita’s and those who contributed.
“We owe you a huge debt. On behalf of the day hospital, thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
Catherine McAuliffe, on behalf of the administrative team, wished everybody luck and safe driving.
“This is a huge asset for the hospital and residents,” she said.
An older bus was traded in for the state-of-the-art €61,500 16-seater bus which has all the mod cons including a heated floor and seats, air conditioning, a lower platform for ease of lifting wheelchairs and a host of safety features. The bus was blessed by Fr. John Mockler.