Mayoral Reception for Cliona’s Foundation – Pictured are Alan McGrath, Terry Ring, co-founder Clionas Foundation, Daniel Butler, Mayor of the Metropolitan District of Limerick, Fionn O’Hehir, Jimmy Crowe and Brendan Ring, co-founder Clionas Foundation. Picture: Conor Owens/ilovelimerick.


Clionas Foundation receives Mayoral Reception for helping Irish families

By I Love Limerick correspondent Conor Owens

Limerick City Hall hosted a Mayoral Reception on Tuesday for the Cliona’s Foundation in order to acknowledge their incredible work in supporting families of children with life-limiting illness, as well as present awards to Fionn O’Hehir, Alan McGrath and Jimmy Crowe for their amazing courage while caring for a very sick brother or sister.  

Speaking at the reception was Mayor of the Metropolitan District of Limerick, Daniel Butler, who presented the awards to each of the three youngsters, as a way of recognizing their incredible selflessness in caring for their siblings. Also speaking at the event were the founders of Cliona’s Foundation, Brendan and Terry Ring, who thanked the Limerick County Council for the reception and their support to the charity.  

Family and friends of Adam McGrath, Jimmy Crowe and Fionn O’Hehir attended the event to show their support to the three brave young boys who showed tremendous love to their sick family members and went above and beyond in supporting them despite their young age. The boys were each awarded certificates by the Mayor as a way of congratulating them on behalf of the County Council.

The reception aimed to raise awareness of the incredible work being done by the Limerick charity, Cliona’s Foundation. The Foundation is the only charity in Ireland providing financial support to the families of children with a life-limiting condition all over the country from birth up to the age of 16 years of age to help with the nonmedical costs of caring for their child. These costs can include accommodation, car parking, travel, child-care, and specialist equipment.  They have supported over 530 families over the past 11 years. The incredible growth of the charity over the years has surprised even its founders. “It just goes to show the real need for this Foundation,” says Terry Ring. 

Mayoral Reception for Cliona's Foundation

Terry Ring, co-founder, Mayor Daniel Butler and Brendan Ring, co-founder at the Mayoral Reception for the Cliona’s Foundation. Picture: Conor Owens/ilovelimerick.

The Foundation was set up by Brendan and Terry Ring, following the death of their daughter Cliona, from an inoperable brain tumour in 2006. Brendan and Terry were shocked by the expenses needed to care for a seriously ill child and were struck by the number of families that were also facing this enormous financial hardship as they were blindsided by non-medical expenses. They set up the charity to help relieve these families of the stress of these costs. These costs can include accommodation, food, petrol and other miscellaneous expenses incurred by families who must take sick children to hospitals or other medical facilities for frequent treatments. “The financial strain to the families in these situations is what people often overlook,” says Brendan, “so it’s great for Limerick city to know the work that we do.” 

Since its inception, Cliona’s Foundation has raised over €1 million and helped more than 550 families across 29 counties. It is Brendan and Terry’s intimate understanding of the stress brought upon these families that explains the diversity of expenses covered by Cliona’s Foundation – from rent, food, utility bills to transportation for chemotherapy or alternative therapies, to a treat for a sibling and even covering the cost of a child’s funeral.  

For more stories featuring the Cliona’s Foundation, click here  

For more information on the Cliona’s Foundation, click here

Last Thursday Mayor Kieran O’Hanlon honoured me with a Mayoral Reception at City Hall with friends and family present as recognition for my work with I Love Limerick. In attendance, Limerick Person of the Year Luke Culhane, style queen Celia Holman Lee, fitness guru Leanne Moore, Senator Maria Byrne, singer Emma Langford, actor Myles Breen, blogger Sharon Tucker, community activist Helen O’Donnell and representatives from various charities and communities.

I was very honoured to be recognised by the city as this city is not only my birthplace, but I could never ever imagine living anywhere else. It’s my home and my life.  I have been doing I Love Limerick for 9 years and I can’t believe it will be a decade next summer!

I have been involved every year in the Limerick Pride Festival since 2008. In 2008, I produced Limerick Pride and made the event a weeklong festival. I wanted it to be integrative and inclusive so I called it I Love Limerick. The theme of that year’s Pride was of Limerick people loving one another and loving our city. When you logged onto it actually took you to That was the birth of I Love Limerick.

Mayoral Reception

Pictured here with Limerick Person of the Year Luke Culhane who made the Cyberbullying video ‘Create No Hate’ which went viral worldwide. Picture: Dermot Culhane.

It developed into a community website dedicated to reporting and promoting positive news about Limerick people, communities, charities and events. I Love Limerick was set up to help people, to give people a platform that normally wouldn’t have one. I started the project in an effort to counteract the negative press Limerick was getting in the national media at the time; little did I know the adventure I was undertaking. I have been so blessed to meet so many incredible people, to work with so much talent and to given the chance to make a difference and do something positive.

Highlights of the last nine years include interviewing my idol Terry Wogan, doing the last interview ever with the last living Knight of Glin, winning Limerick Person of the Year in 2011 and being part of the success of the many charities and community groups that I do voluntary PR for.

Money and fame don’t motivate me. If they did I would be living in Dublin or I would be still in New York where I lived for over 15 years. The most important thing for me is my family and I could not imagine being apart from them. My parents passed away in the last years and I used to care for them full time. Now I live in a house with my partner Hugo, between my brother and sister homes and all their children and it’s heaven! It’s just what my parents wanted, for us to all be together. The highlight for the Mayoral Reception was that my eight year old niece Lucy and my six year old nephew Ryan were there as it’s something they will remember always.

My thanks to Mayor Kieran O’Hanlon who is so very kind to me and who said, “When I first spoke to Richard, I knew what he was doing for Limerick and that made me happy as Richard does a lot of work for a lot of communities in Limerick and he only puts out positive news because he love’s Limerick and we all love Limerick.”

Picture: Cian Reinhardt/ilovelimerick

I intend to keep working hard. The emotional payback from the work is immeasurable. I don’t care about money. I know I need it to survive so I am doing my best to make a living and also continue volunteering with I Love Limerick. Fortunately, loyal fantastic talent surrounds me since the beginning such as Dolf Patijn, Orla Clancy and Jonathan Baynes. My right arm for the last 4 years has been my videographer, Aisling O’Connor. I am so grateful to everyone who works with us, as you are only as good as the people you work with.

I do love Limerick. It’s been so good to me and the people inspire me every day. All the hard work has been worth it and I would do it all over again. Limerick is really about the people who make up this great city and county. I am Limerick, You are Limerick, We are Limerick. Thank you Limerick, I Love you. Richard x