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Brendan Gleeson says hospice care his parents received 're-awakened his faith in humanity'

“The hospice just embraces death … and gives people the finest death possible.”

Brendan Gleeson
Brendan Gleeson
Image: Michael Sohn/AP/Press Association Images

BRENDAN GLEESON HAS praised the work done by hospices in Ireland, saying his family’s experience with St Francis Hospice in Raheny “re-awakened” his faith in humanity.

Speaking to Marian Finucane on RTÉ Radio 1, the actor said: “I was blown away by the hospice when my folks had cause to use St Francis Hospice in Raheny.

“It really re-awakened my faith in humanity … It’s kind of magical the way death is embraced as a part of life and we were always good at that in Ireland and then it, kind of, got driven out a small bit. It became, a little bit, something that we just did not want to see.

“The hospice just embraces death in that way and gives people the finest death possible. And the gift that they allow the people around, families – there’s a beauty about it that is exquisite.

“My mother and my father both ended their lives there and I’m so grateful for that. I don’t know how to express it properly how a good death is so life-affirming. It’s incredible the gift that it is.”

Gleeson praised the staff and volunteers who keep hospices running throughout the country.

Coffee morning 

The actor is an ambassador for the Irish Hospice Foundation’s fundraising event Ireland’s Biggest Coffee Morning, which is due to take place this Thursday.

People are encouraged to gather their family, friends and colleagues to raise money for the organisation. Bewley’s will provide the coffee free of charge and people taking part donate €2 per cup. And all proceeds go towards hospice services in a person’s local area.

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Gleeson described the annual event as “a wonderful institution”.

He noted that it raised €1.5 million in 2015, saying people have continued to support the event despite the recession and “various scandals about charities”.

“The amount of people that are helped by the hospice is just unbelievable … It’s the best of what Ireland can offer.”

More information about the event can be found here or by calling 01 679 3188.

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Órla Ryan

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