Back row: Gwen Carrick, Antoinette Behan, David O’Flattery.Front Row, Emma McGuinness, Kathleen Lennon,and Patricia Delaney.

Clann Mór celebrates 40 years of caring

Service users, residents and their families came together to mark the milestone reached by respite and support community

Clann Mór, the community based respite, residential and outreach support service for adults with intellectual disabilities recently celebrated its 40th anniversary.

What began as a support group for parents, soon identified the need for a respite house, and the service has grown over the years to also operate community houses in Kells, Navan and Ashbourne where 24 individuals are supported to live independently.

The 40th anniversary was celebrated at a function in the Ardboyne Hotel last month when over 220 service users, residents and their families as well as staff and other supporters of Clann Mór gathered to mark the milestone.

Clann Mór Residential & Respite CLG is a community-based respite, residential and outreach support service. The service supports adults with mild and moderate intellectual disabilities, to live permanently in community-based homes. Clann Mór also provides a support service for adults to avail of respite breaks in its community-based respite service.

Clann Mór can trace its roots back to the late 1970’s, when a support group was established which provided a meeting place/focal point for parents and friends of people with intellectual disabilities.

The first Chairman elected was Don Byrne of Laytown and the committee members were Leo Connor, Bernie O’Brien, Anne O’Reilly, Michael Moss, Tom Adams, Mr & Mrs E Norris, Marie Grey, Mrs Guerin, and Noreen Finnegan. Don Byrne served for three years before Leo Connor took over the chair and stayed in that role for over 30 years.

In time, the group turned its attention to the prospect of the providing respite care for their family members and decided to procure a house for this purpose and embarked on an ambitious fundraising drive.

They bought St Oliver’s (now Clann Mór House), on the Commons Road, Navan, in 1982, for the sum of £33k, with the help of a £22k bank loan. The house was prepared for occupation on a voluntary basis, with local companies donating most of the contents.

Mercy nun, Sr Anne Marie O’Brien managed the building for many years and residents have fond memories of her to this day.

When Sr Anne Marie indicated she wished to retire, it came back to the committee as to what needed to be done to continue the services at St Oliver’s. After a review by the Health Board in 1999/2000 it was decided, with their support, a manager would be hired to run and expand the services at St Oliver’s.

Martine Healy was appointed to the role in August 2001 and since then has been working and expanding on her vision for the Clann Mór with the wholehearted support of the board. Clann Mór now operates 11 properties- one of these is a dedicated respite facility and the remaining are community-based homes for adults with intellectual disabilities in Kells, Ashbourne, and Navan. All facilities registered with HIQA.

"Clann Mór supports resident’s rights, promoting social and cultural inclusion, whilst also delivering the highest quality of life for all Clann Mór residents. Clann Mór prides itself on allowing each person who avails of its services to exercise choice in their decision making and have greater control over their own lives, in accordance with their abilities," explained Service Manager Ned Rispin.

Martine Healy, Director of services said: “We support people to live in the community independently. Our staff support residents to carry out day to day activities that most of us take for granted. It has been a long journey for Clann Mór and over the 40 years the charity has expanded. Our organisational goal remains the same as it was at the beginning, with focus on the people we support.”