Motor neurone charity to hire fourth nurse with funds raised by Fr Tony Coote

Priest’s campaign gives €275,000 to IMNDA to help people with motor neurone disease

The Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association (IMNDA) has announced plans to hire a fourth nurse to help people living with motor neurone disease, using funds raised from Fr Tony Coote's successful Walk While You Can campaign.

The outreach nursing service provided by the IMNDA currently consists of three nurses, who help more than 370 patients spread across the country. The service is funded entirely from public donations, with recruitment for the new specialist post to begin in early 2019.

The IMNDA has benefited by €275,000 from Fr Coote's campaign, which included a 550km walk from Letterkenny to Ballydehob last summer. The campaign raised a total of €550,000, with proceeds also going to Research Motor Neurone.

Motor neurone disease (MND) is a progressive neurological condition that attacks the motor neurones, or nerves, in the brain and spinal cord. Messages gradually stop reaching muscles, which leads to weakness and wasting. One person in Ireland dies every three days from MND.


Earlier this week in The Irish Times, Prof Orla Hardiman outlined how funds raised for motor neurone disease research is used, and how more is needed to effectively combat the disease.

Fr Coote's campaign and the importance of the IMNDA nursing service was highlighted during the Walking the Walk documentary on RTÉ One television on Thursday night.

“What Fr Tony has achieved in the last few months is remarkable and we are blown away by his bravery and his sheer determination to help other people living with motor neurone disease,” said Róisín Duffy, IMNDA chief executive.

“He has given a voice to so many and highlighted the challenges posed by this devastating disease on a daily basis. He made it his mission to raise awareness and give people hope, and we believe the appointment of a fourth nurse for IMNDA is the best way we can honour this mission.”

Damian Cullen

Damian Cullen

Damian Cullen is Health & Family Editor of The Irish Times