CUAN Mhuire was founded by Sr Consilio Fitzgerald in 1966 but they continue to make history over 50 years on.
The charitable organisation has provided addiction treatment services and residential rehabilitation to 100,000 people, and counting, over the decades.
Another chapter in their story occurred early this month when Cuan Mhuire welcomed its first undergraduate nursing student – Sinead Dwyer on clinical placement at its Bruree centre.
Cuan Mhuire Bruree has been working closely with Tralee IT, Department of Nursing Studies, over the past six months in preparation for undergraduate nursing students.
The new programme is a perfect link to the start of Cuan Mhuire. Sr Consilio, a trained nurse and midwife, had been moved by the plight of the ‘men of the road’ that she encountered during her work as a nurse.
She began Cuan Mhuire in a room in the Convent of Mercy, Athy, in 1966. Her sister and fellow Mercy sister, Sr Agnes is synonymous with Cuan Mhuire Bruree. She has been running the centre from its earliest days.
The main objective of Sr Agnes and all involved in their five residential treatment centres – Athy, Co Kildare; Coolarne, Co Galway; Farnanes, Co. Cork; Newry, Co. Down and Bruree – is the rehabilitation of persons suffering from alcohol, drug and gambling addiction.
And there has never been as big a need for Ms Dwyer and all the staff as there is now. In June, Mike Guerin, an addiction therapist in Bruee, said demand for support has “gone off the scale” during Covid-19.
“We have seen our phone calls double since Covid-19 kicked in, with in excess of 1,000 enquiries in the past month,” he said. Bruree House currently has a capacity of 130. Each year, there are approximately 650 admissions to the centre.