86,000 U.S. Dollars For First Aid Facility

An American couple whose newborn son tragically passed away at the Cliffs of Moher in July 2006 have pledged 86,000 U.S. Dollars towards the provision and equipping of the First Aid facility at the world famous tourist landmark.  Kelly and Delia Stokes of Phoenix, Arizona have also made a commitment to be involved in and financially support initiatives to further improve the capabilities of health and emergency services throughout county Clare and the mid-west region of Ireland.

Meanwhile, Clare County Council today committed to naming the new First Aid room in the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre ‘Nicholas’ Room’ in honour and commemoration of Nicholas Stokes.  Kelly, who along with his wife is due to visit the Cliffs of Moher today, said, “We have been overwhelmed by the support and assistance given to us by the people of Ireland following the tragic events which occurred on our first visit to the Cliffs of Moher.  We wish to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to the staff at the Cliffs of Moher, the nurses and staff at the Regional Maternity Hospital in Limerick and everybody who showed such kindness to us in the immediate period after the death of our son Nicholas.”

He continued, “County Clare is now very much part of our lives and we wish to play our part in initiatives which suitably commemorate our son.  We hope that our proposals will benefit visitors to the Cliffs of Moher and the people of Clare who may require the assistance of the local emergency services in the future.”

Welcoming the broad-ranging initiative, Mayor of Clare Cllr. Flan Garvey stated, “Delia and Kelly wish to participate in a long lasting meaningful way in initiatives forming part of the new Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience to honour their son Nicholas who was born and passed away at the location.  This is a wonderful and very positive approach out of what have been very sad circumstances.”

According to Gerard Dollard, Project Leader for ‘Cliffs of Moher New Visitor Experience’ team, “Clare County Council will endeavour to facilitate direct discussions between the Health Service Executive and Delia and Kelly to explore the possibilities for improving medical facilities at the Cliffs of Moher, Ennis and Limerick.  We will also assess the current situation within our own emergency services – including the Fire Service and Civil Defence – to see if suitable proposals can be put forward to improve the capabilities of the services to respond to emergencies at the Cliffs of Moher and within the county.

In a further development, the Phoenix Sister Cities Commission has offered its wholehearted support to the initiative.  Phoenix has been a ‘sister city’ to Ennis since July 1988.  During this time, civic and community leaders from both sides of the Atlantic have visited each other on exchanges and have developed strong ties and personal friendships.  “We very much stand ready to assist in whatever way we can and look forward to working with our sister city of Ennis in playing our role in implementing a range of actions”, Rick Gerrard, Deputy Director of the Phoenix Sister Cities Commission stated.

 The Mayor of Ennis Cllr. Joe Reidy praised Mr. and Mrs. Stokes for their approach and said he looked forward to Ennis Town Council playing its part in the proposals.  “Ennis Town Council has established a very strong sister city relationship with Phoenix over the years. We very much look forward to working with our friends in the Phoenix authorities in implementing the proposals of Delia and Kelly, which can only strengthen the twinning relationship to the benefit of the people of Phoenix and Ennis”, Mayor Reidy added.

Delia and Kelly Stokes will today visit the site of the EUR31.5 million Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre project where they will meet staff, view ‘Nicholas’ Room’ and tour the cliff edge.  Later this evening, they will attend an all-island Tourism Conference titled ‘Promoting Co-operative Tourism Marketing’ at the Falls Hotel, Ennistymon, County Clare.  On Saturday afternoon, they will attend a Conference presentation by Katherine Webster, Director of the Cliffs of Moher New Visitor Experience.  The couple are scheduled to return to the United States on Tuesday next November 28th 2006.