03 Jul 2022

Late priest inspires Claire Byrne to raise funds for Motor Neurone Disease in Ireland

Claire Byrne calling on people to raise funds for Motor Neurone Disease in Ireland

Claire Byrne appealing for people to walk for charity

A late priest who walked from Donegal to Cork, raising vital funds for Motor Neurone Disease, and raising €700,000,  is now the inspiration for broadcaster Claire Byrne, to appeal for people to do what they can.

Two years ago, the remarkable Fr. Tony Coote undertook an extraordinary walk from Donegal to Cork – some 550 kilometres – for Motor Neurone Disease. It took a month on the road travelling from town to town in all weather conditions but in the end a remarkable €700,000 was raised for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association (IMNDA) and Motor Neurone Disease( MND) Research.

From these miraculous funds, IMNDA were able to hire a much needed fourth outreach nurse to care and support people living with Motor Neurone Disease in Ireland. The IMNDA’s nursing service helps over 400 people and families spread across 26 counties. This is the only service of its kind in the country and it is funded entirely from public donations. 

Sadly, on August 28, 2019,  Fr Tony passed away at just 55 years old. This year, things are all a little uncertain and the organisation can’t hold the annual 5K event in the Phoenix Park in September as planned.

 Instead the organisation  are encouraging people to be part of something special by taking part in their own Walk While You Can, Where You Can for MND. Just pick anyday in September when you are going to complete your walk and then register online by simply visiting


Please help us honour Fr. Tony’s incredible achievement and in turn help hundreds of people nationwide who are affected by this cruel and debilitating disease.  


Claire Byrne, Broadcaster and personal friend of Fr. Tony is asking you to get involved.


She said:“Now more than ever, it is imperative that we continue Fr. Tony’s fight. Your support means vital funds will be raised to provide people who have MND with the crucial support and care that they and their families need and deserve. We are asking you to walk 5K or more, where you can and while you can. Together, we can make a difference!”


Roisin Duffy, CEO of IMNDA says ‘Like all charities Covid -19 has presented us with more challenges than ever before. Our MND community has never been more vulnerable so we need to be there with them every step of the way. That’s why events like Walk While You Can are so important. By taking part you are providing us with the crucial funds we need to ensure every person living with MND gets the vital care and support they need.’

It’s now up to all of us to ensure that Walk While You Can continues to raise urgently needed funds for people living with MND. Together we can make keep Fr Tony’s legacy going. He himself found hope in times of adversity so we must do the same.

All the information you need can be found on

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