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Hospice "ready to proceed", after a little help from a local Oscar-winner

Daniel Day Lewis has been one of the driving forces behind the €3 million fundraising effort for the Wicklow Hospice.

Daniel Day Lewis at the Hospice site today
Daniel Day Lewis at the Hospice site today
Image: Mick Kelly

THE FUNDRAISING GROUP behind a drive to build a hospice in Wicklow have announced they are now ready for the building of the facility to get under way.

Under a deal struck with the HSE, the Wicklow Hospice Foundation agreed to try and raise three million euro, with the proviso that the health service would then come on board with the rest of the funding.

That target has almost been reached, and patron of the project Daniel Day Lewis announced today at the Magheramore site that they are ready for the next phase to proceed:

“We are so grateful that the HSE will now come on board to fund the remaining 50 per cent of the building and the running costs of the facility at the idyllic Magheramore site in its service plan for 2014.”

The Academy Award winning actor, who lives in the county, became involved in the project in 2009 after he was contacted by chair of the foundation Evanne Cahill. Day Lewis was instrumental in bringing philanthropic group the American Ireland Fund on-board, and donated all of the profits from this year’s Dublin premiere of ‘Lincoln’ to the effort, Cahill tells TheJournal.ie:

I sent Daniel a letter in 2009 – a birthday card in fact. He then asked that I call him to tell him more.

He has a huge interest in hospice care: Daniel’s mother died in a cottage hospital in the UK and he was hugely impressed with the commitment and the level of care from the staff there.

He said to me right there and then that, yes, he would like to lend his name to to the project, which of course was hugely beneficial for us – and since then he’s been phenomenal.

The Foundation received the donation of a site for the project in 2010 from the Columban Sisters – at Maghermore, a coastal area just outside Wicklow Town.

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Day Lewis at the site today with Kieran McLoughlin of the American Ireland Fund and Evanne Cahill of the Wicklow Hospice Foundation (Photo: Mick Kelly)

Regarding the funds raised from the Dublin premiere of the Steven Spielberg-directed ‘Lincoln’, in which Day Lewis gave an Oscar-winning performance, Cahill says:

He told me about it in well in advance, and said he planned to bring the premiere to Ireland, but he asked me to stay quiet about it.

Later I got a call to say: ‘Yes, it’s on – January 20th at the Savoy, and I think I have Steven in the bag’.

We raised over a quarter of a million from the premiere and the subequent charity auction.

Total donations are now heading for three million euro, meaning we’re ready for the HSE to come on board.

Cahill says the plan is for the first sod to be turned next year, with the building to be completed in 2015. Once the HSE takes over the funding, the Foundation will step back from the project, although it may still get involved from time to time “to raise extra funds for non-essential services, gardening and so on”.

It’s planned the three and a half acre site will be home to a 12-bed three-level building. The facility will also have a multi-disciplinary home-care team attached, providing help and assistance for people in their own homes.

Cahill has described today’s announcement as “a real example of the power of the people” and says she looks forward to hearing back soon from the HSE.

Read: 8 totally unexpected Daniel Day Lewis moments >

Pics: ‘Lincoln’ props to be auctioned following Day Lewis Oscar win >

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