GAA announces list of Official Charities

The GAA has announced its list of official charities for the year ahead.

Five charities from around the country and representing a range of different causes were selected by the Association to be charity partners for this year.

The charities were unveiled at a special photo call at Croke Park earlier today. The charities are;

• Western Alzheimers

• Down Syndrome Ireland

• Marie Keating Foundation

• Enable Ireland

• Focus Ireland

Each of the designated charities will receive a €20,000 donation from the GAA.

This is part of an on-going GAA initiative stretching back to 2008 that has seen the GAA select a number of specific charitable organisations and foundations each year in a bid to assist them in raising awareness around their work and also championing their fund-raising efforts throughout the coming year.

Seán Ó hÓráin, Uachtarán CLG, said: "We are delighted to be here to support five very diverse but all equally noble and significant organisations and declare them to be official GAA charities for 2019.

“This year we will have reached the €1.2m mark for official charity donations since 2008 through this Croke Park initiative and have now helped 45 different charities. We are delighted to have been able to provide some assistance to so many worthy causes in that time.

“In addition to this donation, the official charities will be the beneficiaries of the money raised by charity events undertaken by the staff at Croke Park this year such as the annual staff charity cycle which heads from Croke Park to Carrick-on-Shannon on April 26.

"The GAA is about communities and people working for them. Our network of clubs is also responsible for raising huge sums of invaluable support for a whole host of charities at home and abroad through their own local initiatives - and I pay tribute to their generosity.

“I look forward to working with and assisting the five official GAA charities for 2019.”

Western Alzheimers was established in 1994 to provide help and support to carers and families of loved ones living with Alzheimers disease. Currently 55,000 people live with dementia in Ireland, 5,000 of whom live in counties Galway, Mayo and Roscommon. We provide approximately 380,000 hours of care annually in this region.

At Western Alzheimers we endeavour to ensure that those living with dementia can enjoy a meaningful life as an active member of the community for as long as possible while simultaneously ensuring their primary carer gets a well-deserved break from caring. We have over 20 years’ experience and a reputation for high quality dementia specific care.

We provide both support services and care services in Mayo, Galway and Roscommon. The majority of services are provided free or at a significantly reduced fee making them accessible to everybody irrelevant of their circumstances. Our services include: Counselling & Advice, Carer Support Groups, COGS club, In-home support, Day Care, Respite Care and Long-term Residential Care. Our mission is to deliver relevant, tangible care and support for people with dementia and their families, provide carers with a break from caring whilst promoting a dementia friendly and inclusive community.

John O'Sullivan, CEO of Enable Ireland, and Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael John Horan pictured at Croke Park.
John O'Sullivan, CEO of Enable Ireland, and Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael John Horan pictured at Croke Park.

Down Syndrome Ireland: Like all of us, people with Down syndrome want to live life to the full, which means being able to avail of mainstream education, participate actively in society, secure meaningful employment and live independently. Down Syndrome Ireland can provide the necessary support to make these ambitions a reality. Our education and employment programme provide all-through-life supports for people with Down syndrome – from early years right through to leaving school/college. Through our Ability Programme, we also provide employment opportunities for adults with Down syndrome.

There are two key elements to of our education and employment programme. The first is to provide the necessary education supports for children with Down syndrome to attend their local mainstream school, and as such be included in their local communities, making lifelong friends along the way. The second key element which is an initiative that Down Syndrome Ireland has pioneered is to develop links with employers which will bridge the gap from education to employment for people with Down syndrome. This is an essential element of the programme which breaks down barriers, demonstrates the contribution participants can make to employers and provide training support for both employers and participants.

Our partnership with the GAA is a huge opportunity to showcase the ability of people with Down syndrome and raise necessary funds for our education and employment programme.

The Marie Keating Foundation is an Irish registered charity which was established by the Keating Family following the untimely death of their mother from breast cancer in 1998.

The Foundation provides a range of cancer awareness and education services bringing its core message of early detection to communities all around the country.

Now one of Ireland’s leading voices in cancer prevention and support throughout Ireland, the Marie Keating Foundation’s mission is to ‘make cancer less frightening by enlightening’.

The Foundation’s mobile information units and nursing team support men and women affected by all types of cancer and at all stages of a cancer journey through a range of cancer support services.

Enable Ireland was founded in 1948, Enable Ireland provides services to 7,500 children and adults with disabilities from over 40 locations in 14 counties.

Our services for children and their families cover all aspects of a child's physical, educational, and social development from early infancy through adolescence.

We offer a range of services to adults with disabilities which include day care training, personal development, supported and independent living, and social and leisure activities.

Enable Ireland is part funded by the HSE and other statutory agencies.

Every year we require over €2 million in additional funding to meet the costs of delivering our services. Without this additional income from our shops and fundraising we would not be able to meet the needs of the children and their families relying on our services.

We have a nationwide chain of 21 retail charity shops selling clothes, books and bric-a-brac, and raise funds through community fundraising, corporate and national fundraising.

The demand for our services continues to increase throughout Ireland. We have set ourselves the challenging goal of meeting these needs by providing a full range of high- quality services and expanding into local communities.

Focus Ireland is Ireland's leading not for profit working to prevent people becoming, remaining or returning to homelessness. The charity helps over 15,500 people a year who are homeless or at risk. Focus Ireland also provides a place to call home for nearly 1200 households in Ireland.

Focus Ireland is driven by the fundamental belief that homelessness is wrong. Wrong because it is a failure of society that creates victims out of ordinary people and robs them of their potential. Wrong because it can be prevented, it can be solved but is allowed to continue and in doing so, undermines society. We need to challenge our society to think and act differently. We are committed to challenging everything about homelessness; the causes, systemic failures, people’s perceptions and how it is tackled. And we challenge ourselves in how we allocate resources to maximise our ability to prevent people from falling into homelessness and to help people find and keep a home.