The Archbishop Finbar Ryan
Geriatric Home is situated at Sarganga Trace, Morne Coco
Road , Diego Martin, just behind the St. Finbar's R.C.
Church. The institution represents the largest undertaking
to date, by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Trinidad
and Tobago .
It was in 1972, the idea of a Geriatric home was first
raised at a meeting of the National Council of the Society
of St. Vincent de Paul . This plan however, did not meet
with immediate acceptance.
Some members thought that the
idea was well beyond the scope and capabilities of the
Society and felt it should be a government responsibility.
Nevertheless, in spite of these misgivings, the idea
was powerful enough to win over its detractors and the
Society committed its will and resources into making the
dream a reality.
The steering committee to establish the Home was headed
by then National President of the Society, Willie Clerk.
It was Clerk, who before his retirement, suggested that
the proposed Geriatric Home to be named after Count Finbar
Ryan, long-serving Archbishop of Port of Spain and predecessor
to the late Archbishop Anthony Pantin.
A decision was made
to publicize the idea, which soon seized the public's
imagination and the search for land began. Though the
Society looked first at its existing properties with
a view to erecting the Home, it was the Irish Dominican
Fathers especially Fathers Clifford, O'Laughlin and Foley
who, having heard of the project, decided to donate the
land on which the home now stands.
The Society also sought the help of the Governor General
of the day, Sir Ellis Clarke. On a public television broadcast,
he made a stirring appeal to every working citizen to contribute
$20.00 towards the venture.
This effort proved successful
and brought in the first set of funds needed. In addition
to the TV broadcast, other fund-raising events were held.
The Society received solid support from groups such as
the Syrian-Lebanese Women's Club and the Ladies' Auxiliary
of the Knights of St. John.