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Ennis man shielding London’s front-line health workers from Covid-19

AN Ennis man living in London has been using his talents to ensure frontline staff at a hospital and care homes have access to protection against the spread of Covid-19.
Eoin O’Sullivan, originally from the Golf Links Road has transformed his attic into a workshop where he has been making protective faceshields on 3D printers. He has been donating the much sought after equipment for free to a number of care homes and London’s St Helier’s hospital.
The physics lecturer, a former pupil of Gaelcholaiste an Chláir, has been living in London for nearly four years and currently teaches at the University of Surrey.
He explains that the idea came about when a friend of his, Jerry Naiker, told him about the shortage of protective faceshields at a local care home. “Jerry had a 3D printer at home but he knew I had a couple and asked if I’d be interested in producing them.” Since then the word has got out and they have been producing shields for three care homes and the ICU at St Helier’s, with more healthcare facilities in touch about getting a supply.
The shields are printed using designs downloaded for free from the internet, which can also be altered to meet individual needs. “We just need the 3D printed frame and an A4 acetate sheet. There’s no glue or tape or anything required in the assembly. It just makes it a lot easier to change the screen if they need to do that. And it just makes it a little bit more straightforward to post them.” The shields can be disinfected for re-use, or as they are so cheap to produce they can also be used for single procedures and disposed of.
Eoin prints off the designs in his attic, with Jerry and his daughter also involved in the production from their own home. They make about 20 shields a day, and estimates the cost of each to produce is £1 each. He says they are “very happy” to donate the equipment to those in need.
He is teaching his students online and says this venture was a way of keeping busy during the lockdown while also doing some good. “I felt a little bit cooped up at home, not knowing really what to do. My fiance Kirsty had been volunteering, going out and shopping for local residents who have been housebound. I felt like I needed to do something as well and this has been a great opportunity.”
The first lot of shields have recently been shipped out and Eoin is now waiting to get feedback. “We want to see how they perform and if we have to change them in some way, but they were delighted to get them. We’ve decided to just help out locally at the start before expanding this out. If we have the time and the resources to take this a bit further we will. From the reports I’ve been seeing there does seem to be a shortage of certain PPE. I’ve been reaching out to a couple of my contacts from the university to see if they know anybody in need of them.”
Eoin and Kirsty are remaining positive during the lockdown. “It’s been lovely to get to know neighbours again and spend time chatting over the fence. I know its a very serious time, but it has given us a chance to slow down a little and reconnect.”
He is also regularly in touch with his mother Helen and brother Donnchadh back home in Ennis. Donnchadh told us that the whole family are “really proud” of Eoin’s efforts.

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