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Hotel Doolin stop free meals service due to lack of funding

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*Debbie McNamara dropping off a meal to Martin Connell.

Hotel Doolin has had to call a halt to its local meal delivery service having struggled to receive any funding to support it.

Over 1000 meals have been donated to vulnerable members of the community in Doolin, Kilshanny and Lisdoonvarna since the start of the service on March 12th. Hotel Doolin was one of the first hospitality businesses to commence such a move.

Meals on Wheels have resumed from The Stella Maris Day Centre, this factored in with the struggle of Hotel Doolin to receive any funding to keep the free service prompted the decision which was announced on Wednesday and came into play with immediate effect.

General Manager of Hotel Doolin, Donal Minihane said they were “heartbroken” to finish having realised “how important our presence was”. He outlined, “We didn’t even realise when we went ahead with the idea that it would be needed for this long, but we’ve loved every minute of doing it and glad we could bring a taste of what we’re great at, service with a smile, to those in need”.

Minihane described the experience as “eye-opening” and “really worthwhile” for both staff and the community. He is hopeful they could run similar services into the future. Praise was extended to their staff plus volunteers in The Burren Meitheal Volunteer Group for their assistance.

Each free meal cost €7 to prepare, with funds hit as a result of COVID-19, Donal admitted they were forced to put an end to the free meals due to lack of financial support. “We would have loved to continue with this service for free but despite our best efforts we couldn’t secure the small amount of funding to help us cover just some of the cost of the food.

“In normal circumstances, continuing to fund this ourselves might have been an option, but sadly in these times it just isn’t possible to continue with the service indefinitely. The few of us still at the Hotel now need to turn all our attention and effort into picking our business off the floor and getting our much-missed colleagues back to work.”

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, and A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to -

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