If we don't prioritise the sick we're not a society – Daniel
ACTOR Daniel Day-Lewis has toured the site for a 12-bed hospice in Wicklow which he has worked on since his mother's death.
Day-Lewis, who has a house in nearby Annamoe, is a supporter of the proposed facility, which will be located in idyllic rural Magheramore.
His mother, Jill Balcon, had chosen to end her days in a hospice instead of at home because she felt "safe and comfortable there".
"Newborns, children, the sick, the disabled, the dying ... if we do not make them a priority we have not right to respect ourselves as a society," the actor stressed.
"As much as it is personal for us to have these facilities in Wicklow, it is also important for us to be doing things of value in this country when we are so often led to believe that the doldrums will finish us all off."
The actor, who lives in Wicklow with his playwright wife Rebecca Miller and their two children, paid tribute to Columban Sisters for donating the site.
Evanne Cahill said the hope is that the HSE will include it in its 2014 service plan and pre-planning has been submitted to Wicklow County Council.
The "passion and professionalism" of Wicklow people determined to build a hospice inspired the Worldwide Ireland Funds to get involved in the project, president and CEO of the funds, Kieran McLoughlin, told the Herald. The Wicklow Hospice Foundation has just reached a crucial €3m target, with help from the funds.
The amount is the required half of the building cost which will trigger a commitment from the HSE to meet the second half of the cost. Donors to the American-Ireland Funds committed to an ongoing relationship with the project after an impressive address to the Funds annual Gala dinner in New York earlier this year by Daniel Day-Lewis.