The Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Vice Admiral Mark Mellett has launched ONE’s Fuchsia Appeal 2016. The funds raised will be used by ONE to assist former members of the Defence Forces who have fallen on hard times.
Minister for State at Defence Paul Kehoe and the new Dublin City Lord Mayor Brendan Carr also attended today’s (Wednesday)launch at the Defence Forces Monument, Merrion Square in Dublin.
ONE has to raise €600,000 annually to continue running its current facilities for former military personnel, with residential centres provided in Dublin, Letterkenny and Athlone – and drop in centres in Dundalk and Limerick.
The organisation is currently providing accommodation for up to 40 former Defence Force members at modest cost to the State and will continue to do so with help and support of its members and the public. All fundraisers are volunteers and unpaid, as are the board directors.
Since 1994, when ONE built its first residential facility at Queens Street, Dublin; over 700 former ex-personnel have been provided with a place to stay and many others have been assisted in various ways.
Ollie O Connor, chief executive of ONE said, “The Fuchsia Appeal is vital for the organisation. It is a great tragedy but some of our former members end up homeless and continue to be victims of the homelessness crisis. The annual Fuchsia Appeal enables us to help former colleagues who are having a difficult time and sometimes without a home. Many of these people gave outstanding service to the State and to the United Nations and for one reason or another have fallen on hard times, since leaving the service. The homes and drop in centres do not just provide accommodation, but also an opportunity to meet and socialise with others who had served. This we feel is important. Most of the people who spend time with us move on to independent living, after a period of time with support and comradeship.”
“We advocate at political, Departmental and local level on behalf of retired veterans, as well as providing information on pensions, social welfare and other entitlements. It is hoped that the Fuchsia Appeal will become as recognisable in Ireland as a symbol of remembrance as the Poppy is worldwide,” he added.