A former Paralympian from Cork yesterday cut the ribbon on a new facility for people with physical disabilities in the city and surrounding areas.

Eileen O’Mahony, who is president of the Irish Wheelchair Association, was joined by Minister of State Kathleen Lynch; Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin; Deputy Lord Mayor Paudie Dineen; and other members of local businesses and community organisations at the opening of Oak House.

The IWA said Oak House, located on Bessboro Road, will provide some 40 people with physical disabilities with greater independence, freedom and choice, “enriching their quality of life by delivering a broad range of social, educational, and sporting programmes and activities”.

The centre boasts a large multi-functional room, community meeting rooms, dining area and outdoor space, and will be available to existing groups and clubs.

Ms O’Mahony said the centre was the result of years of work by members of the IWA.

“For almost 17 years a dedicated team comprising of IWA members, staff, and volunteers set to work applying for and securing the necessary investment and funding required to support a facility of this kind,” Ms O’Mahony said.

“Through community spirit, and the partnerships formed by local people, statutory and voluntary agencies, neighbouring businesses and organisations, the association now has a modern, top-class facility which is a credit to all involved, and will serve the community well for many years to come.”

Deputy Lord Mayor, Cllr Paudie Dineen welcomed the opening of the new centre.

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to join IWA today for the opening of Oak House and I have to add that Oak House is a credit to all concerned — Oak House will be of immense benefit to all those who visit the centre,” he said.

Founded in 1960, the IWA has 2,000 registered volunteers and 2,221 staff.

The association provides more than two million hours of service annually to people with disabilities in their homes and communities throughout Ireland.

For additional information about the range of services and supports provided to people with disabilities from Blackrock and the surrounding areas contact Oak House on 021 435 0282, email cork@iwa.ie or visit www.iwa.ie


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