'Arc angels' lauded by Taoiseach at official opening of Cork cancer support facility 

“They are a pillar of support in our community." 
'Arc angels' lauded by Taoiseach at official opening of Cork cancer support facility 

Taoiseach Micheal Martin cuts the ribbon with (from left) Catriona O’Mahony, general manager, Ellen Joyce , director of services, and Professor Seamus O’Reilly, co-chairperson and founding figure of Cork Arc at the official opening of Sarsfield House, the new home of Cork Arc Cancer Support. Picture: Larry Cummins

THERE were emotional scenes over the weekend as Taoiseach Micheál Martin unveiled the new home for one of the country’s leading cancer support centres.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin officially opened Sarsfield House, which will serve as a base for Arc Cancer Support House. It was developed as a centre of excellence for the provision of non-clinical cancer support in Ireland.

More than 10,881 supports were delivered by the organisation last year, following contact from 250 first-time service users, in addition to 1,500 people already using the service.

Mr Martin said the event brought back memories for him, given his role in the centre when it was initially established 20 years ago.

“I have followed their work closely for many years and regularly see the positive impact that Cork Arc has on so many lives,” Mr Martin said at the official opening.

“They are a pillar of support in our community. 

"This new facility at Sarsfield House is a benchmark centre of excellence for cancer care in the community, providing support for patients, their loved ones and those working in oncology. Supports like those offered by Cork Arc Cancer Support House will continue to be extremely important for our communities.”

Mr Martin was heavily involved in the development of the charity’s original city centre premises, Cliffdale. The centre operated at this location for 20 years before growth in demand led to its relocation.

“I’m reflecting on how volunteers and survivors came together to make Arc. For me, this is a place that demonstrates some of the most important values in our society. I’m delighted to be here today to celebrate twenty years of Cork Arc Cancer Support House in the community.”

Co-chairperson Professor Seamus O’Reilly, praised the efforts of volunteers for helping the facility become what it is today.

“We are grateful for the generosity of the people of Cork, whose donations have allowed the opening of our new Cancer Support House,” Mr O’Reilly said.

“The new facility provides cancer counselling and support to patients with cancer and their families free of charge. This expanded service is greatly needed as we recover from the pandemic. 

"We are honoured that An Taoiseach Micheál Martin is opening our new building and are grateful for his support of our service for the past two decades.

“We are also delighted to have the opportunity to acknowledge and recognise the contribution of hundreds of volunteers who have been a pillar of our home and our expert committed staff.”

Cork Arc relocated Sarsfield House in 2019 in a bid to expand their services. However in-house services were curtailed with the onset of Covid. This delayed the official launch.

Despite the obstacles, the organisation continues to operate all of its services, including a support centre in Bantry named ‘The Bungalow’ which was opened in April 2015 to support people in West Cork travelling long distances to Cork City for treatment. To find out more about the services provided by the organisation, visit: www.corkcancersupport.ie.

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