Leinster Rugby has announced St Michael’s House as its latest charity partner, as part of the Charity Affiliate Programme which was first launched in November 2020.

St Michael’s House have been nominated by one of Leinster Rugby’s partners, Aircoach.

Aircoach are Ireland’s leading private bus and coach operator and are also the official coach supplier to Leinster Rugby, transporting Leo Cullen and Tania Rosser’s teams to interprovincial fixtures and to Dublin airport as required.

Aircoach have a long-established relationship with St Michael’s House and through their partnership with Leinster Rugby, have now brought that relationship to the attention of Leinster supporters across the 12 counties.

St Michael’s House started with an ad in The Irish Times in June 1955 looking to establish an association for parents of children with disabilities, and within 12 months a house had been purchased in Ranelagh – later known as St Michael’s School – and a teacher, Sheila McCabe, took a class of 12 pupils.

Today, St. Michael’s House provides a comprehensive range of services and supports to men, women, and children with intellectual disabilities and their families in 170 locations in the greater Dublin area. It supports around 2,300 people and this has an impact on thousands of family members.

In attendance at the launch in Leinster Rugby head office in UCD, were Leinster players Aoife Moore, Josh van der Flier and Jimmy O’Brien, as well as representatives of Aircoach and St Michael’s House.

Speaking to leinsterrugby.ie, Rhoda Judge, Corporate Liaison Officer with St Michael’s House said, “St Michael’s House is dedicated to empowering people with disabilities to live life to the fullest, promoting inclusivity, and providing vital services and support to those in need.

“St Michael’s House is committed to ensuring that it is an organisation that delivers services to people with disabilities based on rights.

“This partnership with Leinster Rugby comes at an exciting time for us, as we will be launching our foundation in February 2024. The new foundation will strengthen St Michael’s House’s fundraising efforts, tapping into the organisation’s existing networks and expertise, while amplifying its charitable benefits.”

Celine Coleman, on behalf of Aircoach, also commented, “We are truly honoured to be associated with St Michael’s House and are delighted to be the link that joins them with Leinster Rugby.

“We are confident that St Michael’s House will benefit greatly from the exposure that Leinster Rugby can provide them, and we know those attending Leinster games and events from the charity will enjoy them thoroughly.”

St. Michael’s House supports include:

  • Residential supports and Independent living
  • Clinical supports
  • Day supports
  • Schools
  • Respite supports and
  • Vocational training services

Eamon de Búrca, Commercial & Partnerships Manager with Leinster Rugby said, “It’s been hugely rewarding working with our commercial partners and our players and supporters to help bring our charity programme alive and this is another great example of this.

“It will be great to visit St Michael’s House later this week with Leo Cullen and as well as that to welcome St Michael’s House and the Aircoach team to the Stade Francais game in Aviva Stadium in January.”

Like all the charities selected, St Michael’s House was selected by Leinster Rugby after a consultation process involving the leadership group of the men, women’s and Academy teams and consultation with the premium sponsors and partners and the OLSC.

For more information on St Michael’s House, please visit www.smh.ie

Further information about the Leinster Rugby Charity Affiliate Programme:

The charities supported by Leinster Rugby as part of the charity affiliate programme over the last few years include:

2020/21 Season: Women’s Aid (November), Debra Ireland (December), numerous local causes supported by Bank of Ireland (January), ALONE (February), Pieta (March), AsIAm (April), LauraLynn (May), the Gavin Glynn Foundation (June), Irish Heart Foundation (August) and CRY (September)

2021/22 Season: Alzheimer Society of Ireland (November), Peter McVerry Trust (December), numerous local causes supported by Bank of Ireland such as Outcomers, Citywise Means Business, New Horizon and Purple House (January), the RNLI (February), Irish Cancer Society (March), Irish Community Air Ambulance (April), CRY (May) and Belong To (June)

2022/23 Season: Children in Hospital Ireland (September), Jigsaw (December) and Irish Cancer Society (March)

2023/24 Season: Plan International Ireland (September) and St Michael’s House (December)

The selection process for all the charities includes the Leinster Rugby players, Leinster Rugby sponsors and partners and also the Official Leinster Supporters Club (OLSC).