Sr. Eileen Fahey with Tipperary Association Dublin president Liam Myles
Sister Eileen Fahey, a native of Bansha, has been announced as the Hall of Fame winner for 2018 by the Tipperary Association Dublin in recognition of her lifetime contribution to addiction treatment.
She gained national prominence many years ago when she founded Aiseiri in Cahir. In the early 1980s, through her work in addiction, she discovered that a serious vacuum existed in community addiction treatment services.
Her response was to develop a residential treatment facility, which she called Aiseiri. Sister Eileen showed strong and dynamic leadership from the very beginning and in a very short time her Aiseiri project was recognised, not just in Ireland but internationally, as one of the most professional and effective addiction treatment models.
She was Director for 30 years as new centres opened in Wexford, Waterford, and Kilkenny. Since 1983, more than 6,000 people and their families have availed of its services with over 60% managing to turn their lives around. Initiatives undertaken by Aiseiri include the setting up the first Therapeutic, Drug-free, Addiction Training in Ireland.
She had the energy and the tenacity to persuade people and institutions to support her cause. The Sisters of Mercy backed Sr. Eileen, public fundraising raised significant moneys and later the Health Board provided support.
She follows in the great tradition of religious people and congregations who provided Education, Health Care and Social Services in Ireland and further afield.
The road to addiction recovery is always difficult, challenging and painful and from day one, Sister Eileen was very much aware of this. She knew that those entering addiction treatment would require a safe, compassionate and caring environment, along with high quality professional treatment and support.
That is exactly what Aiseiri provided and Sister Eileen played a pivotal role in creating that environment. While she knew that the road to recovery would be tough, she believed that with adequate support and encouragement people could overcome addiction and return to their communities to lead normal lives.
People who have been residents in Aiseiri speak warmly and glowingly of Sister Eileen’s work and friendship and she has been described as being ‘the heart and soul of Aiseiri’
Sister Eileen decided a few years ago to retire as Director of Aiseiri and she passed on the baton to a Chief Executive Officer. As the founder of Aiseiri this too took great vision, courage and no little wisdom. However, Sister Eileen continues to serve the community of Cahir in a variety of ways, for example, she is the local organiser and facilitator of the Cahir branch of Grow – a peer support group for people coping with mental health issues.
For her lifelong commitment and leadership role in the great, continuing work of Aiseiri Sister Eileen Fahey is a worthy winner of The Tipperary Association Dublin Hall of Fame Award for 2018. Tipperary, and indeed Ireland, can be proud of this selfless inspirational lady.