“Apparently I have to declare it open, but am I supposed to cut something? No tape, no scissors, ye couldn’t stretch it that far, the budget?”
Nobody does deadpan like Roy Keane, but he didn’t even try to keep a straight face as everyone in the new Cork Penny Dinners Caitríona Twomey Wellness Centre Croí na Laoí dissolved into laughter.
The Mayfield soccer legend was there to open the wellness centre on James Street, and, as a long-time and low-key supporter of Penny Dinners, Roy was among friends.
When Caitríona Twomey, Penny Dinners co-ordinator, thanked him for his kindness and said he is not just admired in Cork, he is loved, he looked genuinely touched, before playing up his embarrassment for laughs.
“Am I supposed to say something after that?” he asked, to laughter, before adding: “Carry on, that was lovely!”
He praised the volunteers who keep the show on the road for Penny Dinners, and jokingly declared: “And no photographs or nothing, brilliant”, before obliging anyone who wanted a picture with him.
Mr Keane toldthat he was there to give his backing to a charity he holds in the highest of esteem.
“I’m just here to show my face at Penny Dinners, and show a little bit of support for people who are doing amazing work.
“The help they give to people in terms of people in recovery, people looking for a cup of tea, a bite to eat, a chat, the things we all take for granted, everybody knows what Caitríona does with the volunteers, it’s amazing, it’s absolutely fantastic, and they help so many people.”
He said he was extremely impressed by the new centre, on the site of the old D&A O’Leary Printworks, a property purchased by Penny Dinners for €180,000 and completely rebuilt.
“It takes a lot of effort and money, a lot of voluntary work, with people rolling their sleeves up and giving a helping hand,” he said.
When told the work had been carried out without any financial support from the city or the State, he diplomatically suggested that perhaps that funding might come yet.
Caitríona Twomey toldthat Croí na Laoí means “Heart of the Lee”, and the new wellness centre would offer educational and emotional support to all who need it, in the heart of the city, with access to free dental and medical assistance on-site.