MS Ireland launches their campaign for the expansion of the National MS Respite Centre with Senator Tom Clonan.

MS Ireland launched their campaign for additional funding for the National MS Respite Centre to expand its opening to 350 days per annum and providing an additional 1,248 bed nights annually. MS Ireland is seeking an additional €627,000 funding from the Government to increase respite availability to people with Multiple Sclerosis and other neurological conditions. This can help alleviate pressure points increasingly developing in the residential and home respite care sectors.

Senator Tom Clonan (Ind), speaking at the funding request launch today said “Ireland is an outlier within the EU when it comes to respite and care.  The requirement for funding to expand respite is the very minimum that should be done - particularly when we have a budget surplus”.

Ava Battles, Chief Executive Officer of MS Ireland also speaking at the launch said, “Our Respite Centre provides a modern state-of the-art respite service, which focuses not just on providing a break for the People living with MS and their caregivers, but delivers a range of therapeutic services, neurological assessments and many social activities, all designed to revitalise and rejuvenate and help keep people living with neurological conditions well at home”.

MS Respite Centre

Ava Battles, Chief Executive Officer of MS Ireland speaking at the launch said,“This additional funding request will increase bed availability and provide additional high quality respite care from our experienced nursing and healthcare staff, which will not only benefit those using our service and their families but will also assist the HSE in alleviating pressure on an already inadequate number of respite beds for people with MS and other neurological conditions.

“In Ireland today there is an over reliance on acute hospitals to provide care, so we need to move towards an integrated health system with strengthened primary, community and long-stay structures. MS Ireland’s Respite Service, along with a suite of other services, delivers this model of care.

“Respite care is consistently referred to as a key formal intervention to alleviate the stress of caring. Residential care is experiencing pressure in providing age and need-appropriate respite services. Home support services are also experiencing pressure in providing home support and in-home respite. As a result, increased centre-based respite, like the MS Ireland Respite Centre, is required more than ever to help alleviate the pressure already identified on respite services throughout Ireland.

“The HSE Capacity Review, Sláintecare Report and Neurorehabilitation Strategy’s underlying principle is that services must be integrated, proactive and community-based with an emphasis on planned models of care. MS Ireland Respite Centre services fit in with these planned models of care and the further funding request to the Government can help alleviate the pressure points that currently exist for people with MS and other neurological conditions”.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is recognised as the most common debilitating neurological condition among young adults and is registered as the largest cohort seeking HSE services (NASS 2020). The number of people with MS registered on the Long-Term Illness Scheme in 2022 was 10,387. In 2022, the respite centre welcomed people with MS, Parkinson’s, Ataxia, Stroke, Spinal Injuries, ME and Muscular Dystrophy.

Fergal McKeon, Dublin, who uses the MS Respite Centre talking of his experience of using the service said “The MS Respite Centre is a unique facility specifically suited to meet the needs of MS patients. The standard of care is second to none with kind, caring, professional staff providing excellence in everything they do. From food, activities, yoga and physiotherapy, everything is done with attention to detail and the residents in mind. The peaceful gardens and grounds bring a feeling of tranquillity. Socialising with fellow MS patients allows a type of freedom not experienced in the wider community. The MS Respite Centre briefly removes MS from the residents’ mind; indeed, it gives them a break from having MS. It is truly an experience every MS patient should have".

Bridget Browne, Dublin said “The Respite means so much to me. It’s an amazing place to be. I’ve been attending the Respite centre since 2012. The staff are amazing, and they helped me with my diagnosis. It is a place to go and destress and clear your head of everything MS throws at you. As you walk through the door the TLC you receive is fantastic and the friends I've met over the years from all over the country are brilliant and to be able to talk to people with the same condition means you are never alone”. 

Peggy Quinlan, Tipperary said “My life without the Respite centre would be miserable to say the least. The care and daily therapy is beyond belief. I've been going there for 10 years now and this week I go for five days. All the staff are like a family and can't do enough for us. To live with MS is a daily battle and I can ring them any time I need them, and they always make time for me. To sum it up, the Respite centre has made my life easier in every way. We need more time there and they need more staff”.


Editor’s Notes  

For media queries and interview requests please contact:   

Fergal O’Keeffe  
Marketing and Communications Officer  

086 0498046