The people of Clare formally become the owners of the first ever community hospital in the country.

The keys of a hospital in Ennis have been handed over to the people of County Clare. The non-acute Cahercalla Hospital with ninety two beds and a staff of sixty five has been in operation since 1951.

In 1990 it was threatened with closure when the St John of God nuns decided they could no longer afford the hospital they ran since the 1950s. The nuns did not want the hospital to go into the private sector and be run for profit but to continue the tradition of care for the whole community.

A huge fundraising campaign began to acquire the hospital on behalf of the people of County Clare. Brian McMahon, Chairperson of the Fundraising Committee, describes how generously people responded to the campaign to raise one million pounds.

The money was raised from the people. It was the people who paid and it's the people who now own the hospital.

The handing over of the keys marks a new departure in community hospital care. Fr Harry Bohan believes that this is a model of health care that could be expanded out across the state where community by community people will assume the responsibility of providing such services.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 27 February 1995. The reporter is Cathy Halloran.