23 October 2003 Edition

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Reynolds in West Belfast for children's charity

Albert Reynolds at Bunscoil an tSléibhe in Belfast

Albert Reynolds at Bunscoil an tSléibhe in Belfast

Innovative transatlantic medical partnership

Former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds paid a visit to a number of schools in West Belfast on Thursday 16 October to promote Ireland's Children for Children Foundation.

While visiting Bunscoil an tSléibhe Duibh on the Whiterock Road, Reynolds was accompanied by MP for the area Gerry Adams and former Minister for Education in the Northern Assembly Martin McGuinness. Sinn Féin representatives Sue Ramsey, Belfast Councillor Marie Moore and Tralee Councillor Toireasa Ní Fhearais were also present.

Pupils from the Bunscoil made a presentation of a cheque worth £200 to Reynolds for the Children for Children Foundation, which was set up to "empower all children of the island of Ireland to help one another". This year, its focus is on helping children with cancer.

The Foundation aims to raise €1 million to fund a telemedicine link between Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin, Dublin, and St Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, USA.

Reynolds said that a telemedicine link provides the most rapid and affordable access between the partner hospitals. Detailed patient information, including x-rays and laboratory tests, can be simultaneously viewed by specialists at both hospitals.

The telemedicine equipment allows for joint conferences and discussion of a particular child's consultation. The technology will also benefit children with other diseases, as the same equipment can be used to provide links to other centres of excellence throughout the world.

Reynolds said that the foundation was designed to empower children to fund health projects that will benefit them, as well as improve awareness and provide valuable health information for every child and his/her parents.

The Children for Children Foundation has designated the third Wednesday of October each year as an annual day for children in schools throughout the country to raise funds for their projects.

The former Taoiseach also visited the Holy Child Primary School in West Belfast, accompanied by Sinn Féin MPs Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness.

Gerry Adams said the party was happy to support the Children for Children Foundation. "My office was in touch with the schools throughout the West Belfast constituency asking them to support the day of action and the response has been excellent," he said. "We wish Mr Reynolds well in his project and will continue to help in any way we can."

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