Michael McGrath TD, nominee for European Commissioner officially launches Support Centre for kidney patients in Munster

PRESS RELEASE                                            30th June 2024

Michael McGrath TD, nominee for European Commissioner officially launches Support Centre for kidney patients in Munster

(photos by John Allen tel. 086 2162990  –  no repro fee)


This weekend marked a proud milestone for the Irish Kidney Association as the newly announced Irish Nominee for European Commissioner, Michael McGrath TD, officially opened its Munster Kidney Support Centre on Wilton Avenue in Cork (on Sat 29th June).

Conveniently located within a 3-minute walking distance from Cork University Hospital (CUH), the Centre is designed to provide comfortable and supportive day facilities and overnight accommodation.  These services are free of charge for kidney patients and their accompanying family members and carers traveling from throughout Munster for hospital appointments and inpatient stays.  The vision behind the development of the Support Centre was created with patients and their families to create a true ‘home away from home’.

The event included a plaque unveiling and also a symbolic Cherry Blossom tree-planting ceremony to serve as a lasting reminder of the members of the community’s shared commitment and connection to each other.

Michael McGrath, as a public representative, led the planting ceremony along with five representatives from different stands of the kidney and transplant community who support organ donation including the medical profession, a transplant recipient, a young kidney patient, the family of a deceased organ donor, and a living kidney donor. (more details in the attached script).

The IKA Munster Kidney Support Centre includes six ensuite bedrooms (including two accessible bedrooms) and a drop-in recreational hub, living area, two quiet rooms and a large landscaped garden, where patients can seek downtime away from a clinical hospital environment. It also includes six off street car parking spaces. It is conveniently located at the end of a cul-de-sac on Wilton Avenue in Bishopstown, Cork beside a pedestrian access and just two hundred metres  away from Cork University Hospital.

First proposed in 2014, and purchased in 2018,  the redevelopment of two adjoining houses, at numbers 11 and 12 Wilton Avenue, began with the turning of the first sod on August 15th, 2022.

In his speech at the event, Michael McGrath TD said, “It is my honour to stand in this beautiful, purpose-built haven for patients and their families located in Cork city and my home county  and it is a wonderful example of humanity and community spirit. This event not only highlights the Irish Kidney Association’s unwavering commitment to supporting kidney patients and their families but also showcases the community’s collective efforts in supporting their vision.”

Mr. Eddie Flood, the National Honorary Chairman of the Irish Kidney Association (himself a kidney patient) said, “The dedication of IKA volunteers and staff in developing the Munster Kidney Support Centre shows the strength of the community to create a place of support for all with kidney disease. The Centre stands as a testament to the power of community spirit, volunteerism, and determination. It is a pipe dream turned into reality, built entirely from bequests, donations, and fundraising from IKA members and the public.

“Modern medicine has become more aware of the value of “affective sanctuaries” and “therapeutic landscapes” which are terms used to describe spaces that promote emotional well-being and a sense of safety for patients and families. Centres like this can play a crucial role in enhancing the overall healthcare experience and improving treatment outcomes.

Mr. Flood concluded, “We are pleased to acknowledge that Cork University Hospital, where the care of six hundred renal patients is managed, has been fully supportive of the IKA Munster Kidney Support Centre. This centre epitomises the Irish Kidney Association values of patient-centredness, volunteerism, equality, partnership, innovation, and quality It is a remarkable achievement and shows how we continue to serve the community, since we were set up in 1978.”

Nearly €1.5 million has been spent, buying the houses and renovating the Centre and it employs three trained staff, some of whom are patients.

The Centre includes sustainable features, prioritising eco-friendly innovations including air-to-water systems and solar panels, ensuring both economic efficiency and environmental responsibility.

To find out more about the Munster Support Centre visit  www.ika.ie/support-centre/munster


Click here to download a pdf copy of the press release.


For more information

Gwen O’Donoghue, Media Relations, Irish Kidney Association, mob. 086 8241447

Colin White, Nat. Advocacy & Projects Manager, IKA , mob, 087 6843644