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New sensory garden opens in Buncrana

The iCARE Sensory Garden, Looking Glass Brae, Ballymacarry, Buncrana, has been officially opened by the Cathoairleach of Donegal County Council, Jack Murray.

The project received funding as part of the Donegal County Council’s €5.5m Local Authority Action Plan, which has been financed under the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme.

The event celebrated the opening of the new Sensory Garden for iCARE offering opportunities for interactive play for children and adults of varying ages and disabilities.

The garden creates different areas to provide a variety of multi-sensory experiences, such as a sheltered sensory activity area, sensory path, play area and a garden for growing flowers, fruits and vegetables.

Pictured at the Official Opening of the Sensory Garden iCARE Centre, Buncrana L-R Margaret Farren iCARE Director, Anna Kelly iCARE Director, George McLaughlin iCARE Director, Fr. John Walsh, Rev Judi McGaffin, Cllr. Rena Donaghey, Liam Galbraith Vice-Chair iCARE Board of Directors, Doreen Friel Secretary iCARE Board of Directors, Niamh Clerkin, Angela Tourish, Cllr Jack Murray Cathaoirleach DCC, Cllr Nicholas Crossan, Leas-Chathaoirleach Inishowen MD, Cllr Paul Canning Chairperson PEACE IV Partnership, Paddy Doherty SEO DCC, Pádraig MacLochlainn TD, Loretta Devenney DCC, Declan McGonagle , McGonagle Plant Hire Ltd, John Deeney Executive Engineer DCC, Marion Mailey DCC.

The new Sensory Garden also includes a Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) Communications Board, which provides communications support, with particular benefit to children or adults who are either pre-verbal or non-verbal and/or have communication difficulties.

Liam Galbraith, Vice-Chairperson iCARE Board of Directors, acted as MC for the event. Keynote speakers included: Cllr. Jack Murray, Cllr. Nicholas Crossan, Leas-Cathaoirleach Inishowen MD, Cllr. Paul Canning, Chairperson of the PEACE IV Partnership Committee, Cllr. Rena Donaghey, Doreen Friel, Secretary iCARE Board of Directors and Angela Tourish, Centre Manager. Fr. John Walsh and Rev. Judi McGaffin led an interdenominational blessing of the Sensory Garden.

Pictured at the Official Opening of the Sensory Garden iCARE Centre, Buncrana L- R , Cllr Jack Murray Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Liam Galbraith Vice-Chair iCARE Board of Directors

With members pf the local community in attendance, alongside key stakeholders, including representatives of Donegal County Council, iCARE Board of Directors and PEACE IV Partnership, it made for an inspiring event. The project has re-imagined an undeveloped space and created a shared space to support peace and reconciliation through sensory play.

Match-funding has been provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland. Donegal County Council, through the Peace IV Partnership Committee secured PEACE IV funding under Objective 3 Shared Spaces and Services- Action 3.2 Local Authority Shared Spaces Projects- Sensory Garden.

Niamh Clerkin iCARE Manager, Liam Gill iAdult Manager, Cllr Jack Murray Cathaoirleach DCC, Pádraig MacLochlainn TD, Cllr Paul Canning Chairperson PEACE IV Partnership, Liam Galbraith Vice-Chair iCARE Board of Directors, Cllr Nicholas Crossan Leas-Chathaoirleach Inishowen MD, Doreen Friel Secretary iCARE Board of Directors, Anna Kelly iCARE Director, Orla Tracey, Angela Tourish, Margaret Farren iCARE Director, George McLaughlin iCARE Director, Cllr Rena Donaghey

A special thanks was given to SEUPB for their ongoing support to deliver PEACE IV projects successfully across the county and to the contractor for the new Sensory Garden, McGonagle Plant Hire Ltd.