Daughter of Susie Long dubs HSE inaction over hospice an ’assault on memory of my mother’

THE daughter of Susie Long believes the Health Service’s inaction on delivering a hospice in Kilkenny is an assault on her mother’s memory.

Aine Nic Liam, 29, made the public statement today as she took part in the Tenth Anniversary Susie Long Memorial Walk.

"I am deeply disappointed, frustrated and concerned that ten years since my mother died from colon cancer far from home, there is still no progress on the HSE’s promises to deliver a hospice for the people of Carlow and Kilkenny by 2013," said Ms Nic Liam.

The late Susie Long

"My mother died in a hospice around 150km from our family home in Kilkenny when I was 19-years-old. My brother, Fergus, was 14. It was the final insult to my mum that she had to die so far from home.

"She tried to protect us as much as possible from what was happening at the time but today we are very aware of our mother’s legacy and we want to ensure people don’t forget Susie Long’s message," she added.

Just weeks after Susie Long’s death her family members, friends, and people moved by her story founded the Susie Long Hospice Fund (SLHF) with an aim of delivering a 12-bed hospice in Kilkenny.

Aine was joined on the walk by her brother, Fergus, and their dad, Conor MacLiam.

Speaking ahead of addressing the crowd gathered for the walk, Mr MacLiam said: "We realised the importance of hospice care for Susie very quickly. Since her death we have worked entirely on a voluntary basis to push the HSE to fulfil their commitments.

"We have, through the SLHF, financed palliative care beds and interim measures at St Luke’s Hospital. Myself, Aine and Fergus are beyond frustrated at the apparent shelving of publicly stated objectives by the heath service."

Mr MacLiam added: "The hospice was due for completion by 2013 but was shelved due to lack of funding. This means that Carlow/Kilkenny is now one of only two areas in the country without a hospice."

Meanwhile, the SLHF have criticised how successive Governments have failed to allocate sufficient funding for the setting up and staffing of hospices around the country – including the Carlow/Kilkenny region.

Chairperson of the group, Tommy Roche said: "Traditionally, local voluntary groups were tasked with raising the capital costs of building a hospice and only then would the HSE even consider sharing annual staffing costs. It is about time this tradition ended once and for all."

Mr Roche called on the HSE to deliver on commitments made over the past number of years to providing full hospice services in St Luke’s hospital, Kilkenny without any further delay.

“Our donors and supporters have been very generous and we want to assure them that we will not stop our campaigning until a full hospice service is in place for the people of Carlow and Kilkenny. Meantime, we will consider all requests for funding aimed at alleviating the suffering of palliative care patients and their families in St Luke’s Hospital," he added.

Further details on the Susie Long Hopice Fund here


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