A DESPERATELY needed Cystic Fibrosis unit has been opened for children at Our Lady's Hospital, Crumlin.
Young children with the life-threatening disease now have a dedicated play area to reduce the risk of cross infection as well as an in-built air-filtration system. There are four isolation units, with state-of-the-art entertainment systems and en-suite facilities.
And for the first time there is a parents' lounge and fold-out beds for parents who stay overnight with their vulnerable children.
Although Ireland has the highest incidence of CF in the world, the HSE did not provide funding for the new unit. Instead the Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland (CFAI) raised €750,000 towards the in-patient facility.
CF patient Bevin Murphy is now 17 but was diagnosed with the illness at just a few months. She makes up to five visits a year to the hospital - but until now, it was without the special facilities. welcomed President Mary McAleese and Bishop Diarmuid Martin at the official opening.
Bevin, who welcomed president Mary McAleese and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin to the opening, obviously has a personal interest in the new rooms.
"It's made the hospital a much brighter place for me and all the other CF patients," she said.
"Cross infection would be the main reason for it," she added.
"You can't have two people with CF mixing. If another one was in with MRSA or another bug you could catch it because of your immune system."
Her father John said the facility would mean a lot for the comfort of parents who were used to sleeping on thin mats on the floor of the ward.