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It was, of course, happy faces all round on January 24th, when the long-anticipated Wicklow Hospice finally opened its doors.
Turns out though, behind the scenes, there was a bit of a scramble to meet that long-cemented date.
Due to an unforeseen shortfall in funds and a rise in building costs, its patron, Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services, had to step in during the final weeks of preparation with a €700,000 loan to the Wicklow Hospice Foundation.
It was in December, according to a report in The Irish Times, that Our Lady’s board were told of the shortfall, given that the foundation had only managed to raise €250,000 of their €600,000 fundraising target.
According to an OLHCS spokesperson, “The directors noted that it was extremely disappointing and surprising to be advised of a funding shortfall so late in the development”, whilst recognising that rising building costs had also contributed to the €700,000 bill.
The hope being that, once the facility starts taking patients in April, further fundraising will cover the new loan.
There’s also a belief that HSE management have told Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services that it would accept service cuts “if necessary” in order to make sure that Wicklow Hospice can break even in its yearly budget.