Hotelier John Fitzpatrick Honoured at National Autism Charity Event
- Minister Rabbitte thanks New York-based hotelier for his continued support for autistic services in Ireland through the Eithne and Paddy Fitzpatrick Memorial Foundation
New York-based Irish hotelier John Fitzpatrick was honoured at a special event held by Ireland’s National Autism Charity, AsIAm, at Fitzpatrick Killiney Castle, yesterday afternoon for his continued support for the organisation. The event was attended by Anne Rabbitte, TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Disability at the Department of Health and the Department of Justice.
As a leading Irish donor, John Fitzpatrick is a former Chair and current board member of the Ireland Funds America which has supported AsIAm over the last five years. In memory of his parents, he founded the Eithne and Paddy Fitzpatrick Memorial Foundation in 1993 to raise funds for charities across the island of Ireland, which to date has raised over €4.5 million. Most recently his parent’s Foundation donated over €100,000 towards Ireland’s first Autism Information Line and a programme supporting autistic adults.
He announced the pledge to Ryan Tubridy on the Late Late Show last year after witnessing first-hand the challenges a work colleague faced when securing supports for his autistic son, particularly after finishing school.
John, who also was awarded an OBE for his charity work in 2008, said, “I was delighted to have the opportunity to provide funding support to get these two very worthwhile initiatives underway. They have proved to be highly successful and have had a very positive impact on the lives of autistic people and their families who have participated to date. Equally positive was the fact that Minister Rabbitte endorsed the Autism Information Line and now the HSE has committed to ongoing funding of the line. I would like to commend everyone involved in AsIAm for their dedication and hard work and wish them continued success.”
Speaking at the event Adam Harris, CEO, AsIAm, said, “On behalf of everyone at AsIAm and the autistic community here I want to thank John and the Foundation for his support. The impact of this contribution towards the pilot of the Autism Information Line has been huge and we have now received HSE funding and allowed us to pilot our Adult Groups which have now also been further scaled and sustainable funded. Our vision is to create an Ireland where every Autistic person is accepted ‘as they are’ – equal, valued and respected. In furthering this vision, we operate a range of capacity building programmes which aim to both support Autistic people and our families and making society more accessible and inclusive of our community. We hope this positive track record will support future conversations with the Eithne and Paddy Fitzpatrick Memorial Fund.”
Speaking at the event The Minister said, “Donors like John play a critical role in enabling charities to provide vital services. The new information line and autistic adult groups are just the first steps of many towards developing a more streamlined approach to how we can support autistic people overcome whatever obstacles they are facing day to day. There are plenty of people who will directly benefit from this contribution, there are many more who will indirectly benefit as they learn and understand more about the autistic community.”
The event was attended by a wide range of stakeholders including people who have benefited from the AsIAm supports funded by the Eithne and Paddy Fitzpatrick Memorial Fund.