Minister Foley Officially Opens Inspired Day Service Centre

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At the opening of the new Inspired day service centre on Monday were, from left; Inspired participant Liam Purcell, Chairperson of Inspired Kay McCarthy, Manager of Inspired Liz Maher, Minister for Education Norma Foley, founding member and Director Donal O’Keeffe and Inspired participant Lorna Hayes Walsh. Photo by Dermot Crean

THE official opening of the Inspired day-service located at Brandon Court, Basin Road took place on Monday by Minister for Education Norma Foley TD.

Inspired is a not-for-profit organisation, dedicated to empowering adults with intellectual disabilities and the organisation has gone from strength to strength since 2014.

The building owned by the Byrne family and formally known as the Brandon Court Hotel was renovated by Inspired during the pandemic.

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Even though the organisation moved into the building in 2021, due to Covid-19 restrictions they were unable to host the celebratory opening until now.

Minister for Education, Norma Foley said; “It is a great pleasure and a privilege to officially open the magnificent new Inspired Centre in Tralee. As both a teacher, and as Minister for Education, I recognise the importance of inclusive education for all. It gives me immense pride and joy to see that ethos and spirit of inclusion is not only alive and well but thriving here at Inspired”.

At the opening of the new Inspired day service centre on Monday were, from left; Yvonne O’Brien, Inspired participant Dale O’Carroll, Lorna O’Sullivan, Manager of Inspired Liz Maher, Minister for Education Norma Foley, Maree O’Connor, Inspired participant Sarah Fitzmartin and Fran Malone. Photo by Dermot Crean

Participants treated guests to a tour of the centre, with some serving food and refreshments while others were eager to deliver their views and opinions on what Inspired has meant to them so far.

Chairperson of Inspired, Kay McCarthy, explained that; “the organisation was founded in 2014 by a group of parents who believed that people with intellectual disabilities should be an integral part of society, having equal rights to participate in education and employment. Kay who spoke on behalf of the board, management and staff said that “they will continue the mission and vison of Inspired and will continue to develop a service where self-advocacy and social inclusion were prioritised”.

Patrice O’Neill, Day Services Opportunities Manager Kerry HSE, commented on the Inspired journey and how it has embraced the New Directions approach in every sense. She remarked on the availability of choice and the focus on ability instead of disability.

Liz Maher, Manager of Inspired spoke of the dedication extended to Inspired by the team of architects and building professionals who worked in one of the worst conditions during the renovation period.

Liz also remarked on the dedication of the Inspired staff and volunteers who worked endlessly during Covid-19 and commended and applauded their work on successfully and seamlessly transitioning all participants back into the service which remained fully open during the pandemic.

In addition, funders, and stakeholders such as the HSE, NEWKD, Bon Secours Hospital Tralee and Kerry ETB were thanked for their financial contributions and huge support.

Paddy Clancy was keen to emphasise the importance of language, narrative and how we reference disability in general, saying; “I hate clicking the word disabled person, it’s not how I see myself and we need to change this”.

The organisation reiterated its commitment to providing exceptional person-centred supports guided by a Human Rights model. Manager Liz Maher stated that they would do this “by empowering people with intellectual disability to become self-determined valued members of the community, while enabling them to enjoy the good things in life like every other citizen”.

Management and staff agreed that they would continue to focus on individual ability, enabling participants to achieve their full potential, by encouraging personal choices, interests, and advocacy.

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