Politicians, academics and students take ice bucket challenge en masse

25% of all funds to be donated to research programme headed by TCD academic


Politicians, academics and students braved cold weather today to take the ice bucket challenge in front of gathered crowds on Front Square.

The fundraising event for research into motor neurone disease was led by Orla Hardiman, professor of neurology, who accepted the challenge from Sheffield University along with her research group and Aisling Farrell, CEO of the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association.

The group was joined by politicians including Fine Gael TD Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Labour TD Joe Costello, Labour senator Ivana Bacik, Fine Gael senator Cáit Keane, Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuinness, Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín O Caoláin, People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett and Fianna Fáil councillor Mary Hanifan.

Fine Gael TD Gabrielle McFadden, whose sister Nicky died of MND in March, also accepted the challenge along with her colleagues.

Speaking to Trinity News after the event, Prof. Hardiman said that there is an urgent need to find new treatments for MND.

“We see over 80% of everybody in Ireland with MND in our specialist clinic in Beaumont Hospital,” she said.

“We work closely with the charity the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association, which provides nursing support, equipment and other resources for patients with MND and their families.  Without the IMNDA people with MND would have very limited access to important and quality of life enhancing equipment including communication aids,  appropriate specialist beds and other devices. Over 70% of the funding for IMNDA comes from fundraising.”

The Front Square event comes after Wednesday’s announcement that the ice bucket challenge has so far raised over €1 million for the IMNDA.

In a statement, the organisation confirmed that 25% of all funds will be donated to research efforts overseen by Prof. Hartiman, who heads  TCD’s newly-formed academic unit of neurology.

“The IMNDA is completely overwhelmed by the generosity of the Irish public,” the statement said. “When the dust settles we will have a consultation process with all stakeholders including the MND community to discuss the most meaningful way to use this enormous sum of money.”

Text MND to 50300 to donate to the cause.

Catherine Healy

Editor of Trinity News. Interested in politics, history and all forms of media.