Members of Longford Irish Wheelchair Association pictured at the 20th anniversary celebrations of Cuisle Holiday Centre in Donamon, Co Roscommon in 2017 Picture: Andrew Fox
People are devastated following news of the planned closure Cuisle Accessible Holiday Resort at the end of the month.
Julie O'Donoghue, Green Party general election candidate for Roscommon / Galway, says there is widespread support for saving Cuisle, not just locally but also nationally.
Cuisle Holiday Centre, located in Donamon, Co Roscommon is Ireland’s leading wheelchair accessible resort, and it has been providing holidays to people with physical disabilities and their families since June 1997.
Members of the Longford Irish Wheelchair Association regularly visit Cuisle and they also attended the 20th anniversary celebrations in June 2017.
It is understood that staff at Cuisle were informed that the centre is due to close on November 29.
Also read: Longford IWA enjoy Cuisle celebration
Ms O'Donoghue, who works as a teacher in Ballymahon, said she has spoken to many people about the sad and shocking news that Cuisle is due to close.
In a statement, Ms O'Donoghue commented, "Cuisle caters for people who would never have a trip away if it weren’t for the service and, very often, it provides the only respite for carers.
"It is invaluable because it is a place where having a disability isn’t a barrier to having a good time with peers when so many of our public spaces are completely inaccessible. There are people around the country whose annual trip to Cuisle is something that they look forward to all year and their only social outlet.
"I have spoken with members of the national charity, Ataxia Foundation Ireland, who are devastated to hear of the planned closure and have assured me that they are willing to do whatever it takes to save Cuisle. Everyone I spoke to emphasised the incredible service provided by staff and the value of the facility.
"I have no doubt that we will be able to get other service users, families and charities to row in behind a campaign to save Cuisle."
Ms O'Donoghue explained that she, as the sister of somebody who uses a wheelchair, is keenly aware of the lack of facilities for people with disabilities in this country.
She pointed out, "In an absolutely ideal world, everywhere would be accessible for everybody. As that is not the case, the very least we can do as a society is to save facilities like Cuisle that support some of the most vulnerable among us. This goes to the heart of what we value as a society and what we are willing to stand up and fight for. I am absolutely committed to working to save this invaluable facility and I will support everyone who is doing the same."