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The Galway Branch of the Irish Society for Autism will have their official opening on Monday, the 15th September next. The service will be launched by Minister of State Mr. Bobby Molloy,TD, The Branch have purchased a farm at Gortcloonmore, Claregalway and have named it Cloonmore Farm.

The idea originated from the Dunfirth Method—an organic farm at Dunfirth, a mile or two from Enfield, off the main Galway-Dublin Road. There are 36 autistic people there and it has proven very successful.

Autism is a condition in which the person is left without an ability to communicate. It is not a mental handicap, it is not a psychiatric illness. It is a condition where the sufferer is incapable of communicating in the normal way, though some can speak. Autistics tend to lock themselves in their own world, sometimes built around small obsessions like the need for everything to be left exactly the way it was in their room, or collection of small things like collections of plastics. They may also have aversions to everyday things and objects.

Until quite recently, some autistics found themselves in psychiatric hospitals, or classified among the mentally handicapped. Thankfully, that has been changing over the years. Cloonmore is the initiative of Mr. Christy Dooley. He was impressed with the Dunfirth method, and has great enthusiasm for Cloonmore Farm where he plans a similar project starting off with 6 residents initially. We wish Cloonmore Farm best wishes from Claregalway Community and hope they go from strength to strength in the future. In a special fund-raising effort, work is now finalised on a CD in aid of the services which includes the talents of Mairtin O’Connor, Frankie Gavin, Dolores Keane, Mary Coughlan, Louis Stewart, Honor Heffernan.