500 tons of aid departed from Dublin Port today, bound for continental Europe where it will be distributed among needy Ukrainians.
Aid from Ireland said the shipment is the largest convoy of aid in Irish history and is only possible after dozens of volunteers came forward and offered to drive trucks and vans.
“We got the idea Monday, it was mainly my son who thought that he would like to do something,” Alan from north Dublin told Newstalk.
“So we made an appeal, thinking that we would fill one trailer and it ended up that we filled 11 trailers.
“So we’ve four of our own trucks going and the other seven are from other hauliers in our group.
“We’ve filled 11 trailers… but we could have filled another 20.”
Alan has never before driven such a long distance but that isn’t the case for every driver:
“We go out to Romania once a year with aid,” Monaghan man Dara Murphy said casually.
“It’s a complete mix [inside the trailer]; foodstuffs, dry foods, nappies, medical supplies, drinks - everything.”
Hosting refugees at home
And the response from Irish people hasn’t just been limited to donating food and medical supplies; more than 6,000 people have been in touch with the Irish Red Cross offering to host Ukrainian refugees in their own homes once they arrive in Ireland.
The Red Cross’ Secretary General said such generosity had left him “blown away”:
“We built that register of pledges for the Syrian refugees when they came here back in 2016,” Liam O’Dwyer told Newstalk.
“And we were delighted to get a response of a thousand offers over a period of a few months. Whereas last night our database got overloaded and we had to stop it!”
Main image: A truck awaiting departure from South Terminal Road, Dublin Port, as ‘Aid From Ireland’ has organised the largest aid convoy to ever leave Ireland, destined for Ukraine. 25 trucks are leaving Dublin port this afternoon with 500 tonnes of aid. Photograph: Sasko Lazarov / RollingNews.ie