A number of collection points have been set up throughout County Longford which will accept items desperately needed by refugees fleeing the current Middle East crisis.
The collection is being co-ordinated by the Longford Refugee Solidarity Group, which was established after images were published of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, who drowned along with his mother and older brother as they attempted to reach Europe by sea.
“The horror of the event was a catalyst for the formation of nearly all groups nationally,” the group’s spokesperson, Claire Campbell, said.
“Tracey Ryan was the lady who started the National Ireland Calais Solidarity Group in Cork. They have arranged a warehouse in Cork for deliveries from other counties in Ireland. The Cork group asked if each county could have a co-ordinated group approach, so we all got in contact with each other over the weekend, put our information together, and that was it.”
Claire explained that the Cork group’s shipment will leave Ireland on September 29.
“The Convoy will be sent to Calais, a refugee camp in France. There are 400 women and children in Calais and they have been looked after very well. The estimated population of the camp at the weekend was 4000 people. The majority of people in the camp are young male teenagers and men.
“This figure is set to double.”
Items urgently needed include shoes (hiking boots, trainers, Wellingtons - sizes 7-9), toiletries (toothbrushes, soap, shampoo), men’s clothes (small and medium jackets, size 28-32 jeans, tracksuites, wooly hats, belts, socks, underwear, gloves, jumpers), and accommodation (tents, sleeping bags, blankets). Smart phones, candles, torches, travelling bags, and black plastic bags are also needed. When delivering, items should be placed in separate bags labelled with the item type.
There are four collection points in the county:
1. Kiernan Structural Steel, Kiltyreher, Carriglass. 043 3341445. Collections from Monday, September 7, to Thursday, September 10, from 1-2pm and 6-7pm, and Friday, September 11, from 2-4pm.
2. Longford Tourism Office, Market Square, Longford. Collections from Monday to Friday from 10.30am-5.30pm.
3. Newtownforbes Complex (co-ordinators Orlagh McGrane and Brenda Barden). Collection on Wednesday, September 9, from 6-8pm.
4. Ardagh Community Centre (co-rdinator Joanna Pearman and Ardagh Group). Collections on Friday, September 11, and Friday, September 18, from 9.30-11am. There will also be a coffee morning held on these dates.
Claire concluded by outlining the plan for donated items. “The items will be dropped off at Kiernan Steel Killoe where Frank and Dolores Kiernan have kindly sponsored pallets, plastic covering, staff, and transport of items to Cork. Depending on the size of the delivery, other couriers may be asked to volunteer their services. No items will be wasted and it will be made sure that all items get to the refugees in the various camps.”