Press Release

Minister Mary Wallace speaks at the launch of the BRÍ Acquired Brain Injury Awareness Weekend (21st-23rd November 2008), Mansion House, Dublin

Ms Mary Wallace T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children with special responsibility for Health Promotion and Food Safety today (Friday, 21st November 2008) launched the BRÍ Acquired Brain Injury Awareness Weekend, which runs from 21st to 23rd November 2008.

BRÍ, the Acquired Brain Injury Advocacy Association, is a charitable organisation providing advocacy and support to those affected by Acquired Brain Injury (ABI), their families and carers. Its mission is to ensure that all those affected by ABI have the best possible quality of life. It advocates for public awareness, for active rehabilitation to become widely available and for medical care to be improved and expanded. It also seeks to promote prevention of both traumatic and other acquired brain injuries. BRÍ has regional support groups operating in various areas around the country.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Wallace acknowledged the valuable contribution that the support groups operated by BRÍ make to the lives of those affected by acquired brain injury. She said they are “of tremendous benefit to a great number of people affected by acquired brain injury. They provide the opportunity for members to meet on a regular basis, to exchange experiences and insights and to offer one another practical help. Undoubtedly, such peer support is of critical importance in assisting individuals with an acquired brain injury and their carers to come to terms with their condition and to live their lives to the best of their abilities.”

While there are no official statistics on the numbers of people living in Ireland with ABI, international evidence would indicate that about 8,000-10,000 people acquire a brain injury each year in Ireland.

Noting the many challenges facing individuals with an acquired brain injury, the Minister said that a key challenge is that of “having to adjust to a loss of some, or indeed all independence and learning to overcome other people’s lack of awareness or understanding of what has happened. Also it is frequently not possible to predict the long term outcome for an affected individual so there can be great uncertainty in terms of what the future holds.”

In conclusion the Minister said “I have no doubt that this weekend’s event will be of great benefit in terms of heightening awareness and understanding of the complexities presented by acquired brain injury. I wish BRÍ, and everyone involved with it work, every success for the future.”

Read the Minister’s speech