We have been providing services for children and adults with disabilities since April 1951, when Lady Valerie Goulding and Kathleen O’Rourke set up the Central Remedial Clinic. They were responding to the needs of children and adults who were left with disabilities after an outbreak of poliomyelitis in Ireland in the 1940s and 1950s.
The very first Clinic was a small non-residential treatment centre in a house in Upper Pembroke Street in the heart of Dublin.
Kathleen O’Rouke was a remedial gymnast with a special interest in rehabilitation therapy. She worked with patients on therapeutic exercises and trained others to do the same.
Lady Valerie Goulding was a campaigner who gathered a number of prominent business people together to raise funds for the CRC. She had already displayed a unique spirit of concern and charity through previous work for disadvantaged people in Dublin.
Lady Goulding was chairman and managing director of the Central Remedial Clinic from 1951 to 1984. Through her foresight and campaigning, we developed a full range of services for children and adults with physical disabilities.
Lady Goulding died in 2003, aged 85.
In 1954, we had sufficient funds to move the CRC to Goatstown, just south of Dublin city centre. In those early years, our emphasis was to provide medical support and physiotherapy for children and adults.
In 1956, we opened a small primary school and sheltered workshop.
As demand for the CRC’s services grew, so too did our need for space. We decided to move to the north of the city where there were no services for people with physical disabilities.
In 1968, we opened our purpose-built facility in Vernon Avenue, Clontarf. This is now our main headquarters and administrative base.
As polio has largely disappeared, the role of the Clinic has gradually changed. What was once a one-room clinic with two patients is today the largest organisation in Ireland for people with physical disabilities.
We now provide a full range of services to over 4000 people with disabilities throughout the country. We support their families and carers.
We are located in Limerick and Waterford. In the Dublin area, we have services in Clondalkin and Clontarf, as well as our day services for adults with disabilities in our centres in Coolock, Firhouse and Hartstown.
We are always seeking ways to develop our services and to respond to the changing needs of families and clients who attend our centres every day.