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Roche Ireland, which has been credited with revitalising Clarecastle thanks to donations to local community and voluntary organisations. Photography by John Kelly

“Roche made Clarecastle village”

THE Clarecastle Daycare Centre (CDC) wouldn’t have been built without vital seed capital from Syntex/Roche Ireland, according to well known promoter of the centre.

Mary Morrissey recalled the provision of €76,200 from the Clarecastle-based pharmaceutical giant was instrumental in ensuring that ambitious plans to provide a wide range of services for the elderly became a reality in the late nineties.

In addition to this funding, the former CDC chairperson described the closure of Roche Ireland as a major blow to Clarecastle and numerous communities throughout Clare who have benefited from regular generous donations over the decades.

This includes Clarecastle National School, local scouts, tidy towns, SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church, GAA, and other organisations in the village and other communities.

In total, Ms Morrissey estimates Syntex/Roche has donated in the region of €100,000 to the Daycare Centre. While the present site for the daycare centre was provided by the council, the committee has purchased other sites in recent years.

“Roche made Clarecastle village. When I came to Clarecastle in 1963 the village was badly off.

“Roche were the best company you could have as they cared about the community. Roche used have celebrations for local children twice a year.

“It is very sad to see it closing. The Roche workers were great as well.

She remembers outlining her plans for the daycentre to former Syntex manager, T J Waters and other board members.

Ms Morrissey recalled the daycare committee held their first meeting in Treacys West County Hotel, which attracted a handful of members but then they managed to get a much larger group on board to bring their plans to fruition.

The centre now provides a wide range of nurse-led health care services and social activities for the elderly within a ten-mile radius of Clarecastle. Senior citizens from Clarecastle and surrounding districts are brought by bus to the centre on a daily basis where they receive great care and attention from staff.

Her only disappointment is the fact their current Alzheimer unit and day room in the building isn’t being used to its full potential.

Her initial plans included the development of a daycare centre, dementia unit, supported residential units and a respite facility.

Over the years, the committee has engaged in numerous major fundraising drives including volunteers participating in the Dublin City Marathon and taking a racing car to Morocco with the help of Peadar White from Ennis.

“People were very generous when it came to donations. I love the elderly who raise big families and deserve to get the best of long term residential care. There is a great need to provide residential facilities for people with disabilities like they do in special villages in England,” she said.

Meanwhile, Clarecastle Community Development outlined in a statement to the Clare Champion, Roche Ireland has been an exemplar corporate citizen and a very significant contributor to the development of our community over a long number of years.

“The closure of the facility represents a huge loss to former employees, contractors local service providers, local businesses and the wider Clarecastle community.

Dan Danaher

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