Extraordinary donation to Western Alzheimer’s from Tuam-based charitable trust

galway daily news bricklaying ceremony at western alzheimer's site 2022
(L to R): Pat Holmes, CEO, Western Alzheimers; Declan Moran, Loumoy Construction; Niall Taylor, Taylor McCarney Architects; Pam Dalton, Person in Charge, Western Alzheimers Respite Centre; Joanna Jordan, Trustee, The Joe & Helen O’Toole Charitable Trust (Tuam); Pat McHugh, Chair, Western Alzheimers; Martin Hansberry, Site Foreman. Photo Conor McKeown

The first brick was laid today on a €4.6 million development at the Western Alzheimer’s Respite Centre in Ballindine, enabling people living with dementia to continue living at home. 

The purpose-built complex will increase the available beds at the centre from 12 to 20, as well as improving the communal resident and visitor areas.

A €2.5 million donation from the Joe & Helen O’Toole Charitable Trust played a key role in ensuring that the major development could go ahead.

The trust honours the memory of well-known Tuam business couple Joe and Helen O’Toole. Helen and Joe passed away in 2013 and 2019 respectively.

Chairperson of Western Alzheimer’s Pat McHugh said that they are indebted to the Joe & Helen O’Toole Charitable Trust for the ‘extraordinary donation’ which meant the project could proceed without any delays.

He said that a central tenet of Western Alzheimer’s mission is to support people living with dementia, and their families, so that they can continue to live at home and to lead meaningful lives in the community.

“The addition of eight beds will have an enormous impact on the number of people we can support.”

Mary Lardner, trustee and CEO of O’Toole’s SuperValu, said that Joe and Helen believed in supporting worthy causes locally, and they were fully behind the work of Western Alzheimer’s.

“They supported the organisation in a variety of ways as they saw the invaluable support it provided to families living with dementia in the west of Ireland,” she said.

“Marian House – The Joe & Helen O’Toole Respite Centre is a fantastic facility for families in the three counties and the trust is delighted to have the opportunity to support Western Alzheimer’s in bringing this project to fruition.”

Pat Holmes, CEO of Western Alzheimer’s, explained that the new development will increase capacity from 588 weeks of residential respite care to 980 weeks.

The new building will also comply with the latest standards for residential care settings. 

“I also acknowledge the support of Breda Crehan Roche, HSE Chief Officer, CHO2; Shannon Glynn, HSE Head of Older People Services, CHO2; and Miriam McGuinness, HSE Home Support Manager, CHO2. Additionally, I acknowledge the excellent care provided by Pam Dalton, Person in Charge, and her team in Marian House,” he said.

Mary Lardner today performed the laying of the first brick ceremony, and it is expected that the unit will become operational by September 2023.

The design team for the project is Taylor McCarney Architects and Tuam-based construction company Loumoy will carry out the contract.