The Health Service Executive (HSE) has refused to green light a proposed hospice backed by Daniel Day-Lewis in his home area of Wicklow. Day-Lewis said a refusal to go ahead could lead to an “armed rebellion”.
Day-Lewis told the Irish Times that he believed hospice organizers had a firm commitment from HSE to build the hospice.
He had led the fundraising, including donating the proceeds of the Irish premiere of “Lincoln” for the project which was inspired by his own mother’s death and the need for end of life facilities.
“On the grounds of these assurances we raised the money so if there was any question about honoring that commitment there would probably be an armed rebellion,” he said.
The actor was speaking during a rare public appearance at the site of the hospice near where he resides in Wicklow. The Wicklow Hospice Foundation had raised $4 million and fully expected the HSE to raise the rest.
Speaking of the need for hospice facilities Day-Lewis stated whenn a loved one is dying hospice care is vital.
“Even as absorbed as one is by grief, one is fully aware that they are allowing you a precious time.
That is what hospice care is able to do – allowing this period of time which is going to be hard and awful, but precious as well,” he said.
Day-Lewis said the project simply had to go ahead.
“Since the great crash, most people will think of 10 good reasons not to do a thing, and that can become a habit. Rather than lamenting all those great works that should have been done when the tills were ringing we should go ahead.”
Kieran McLoughlin, chief executive of the American Ireland Fund who are also fundraising for the hospice described it as “a wonderful philanthropic response to the times we’re in”.
“This project demonstrates the power of philanthropy whereby a public health objective is being made possible through the generosity of donors here and in the US. At a time when the public finances are under such pressure, philanthropy should be encouraged to help ensure society's needs are met. The Wicklow Hospice is a splendid example of this and we are proud to be associated with it."
The Wicklow Hospice Foundation said it is ready to proceed with the long-awaited 12-bed facility at the spectacular Magheramore site overlooking the sea near Brittas Bay.
Day-Lewis, a patron of the cause, joined Wicklow Hospice Foundation at the Magheramore site as they shared the news of these milestones.
Evanne Cahill, Chair of Fundraising at Wicklow Hospice Foundation said the organisation was overwhelmed with what has been achieved.
“We cannot believe that all the hard work is now about the pay off. We are indebted to our many supporters, big and small. The people of Wicklow made this happen – they put their hearts and souls into this Magheramore Hospice facility as too many of them had seen close family die in acute hospitals, miles from home without the specialist palliative care that affords dignity, comfort and peace at one of the most vulnerable times in life.
“The Magheramore site is bounded by mature trees, surrounded by wildlife and bird song. What greater gift could you give to those you love the most as they approach life’s end.”