The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) today donated in excess of €80,000 retail worth of New Balance sportswear to the Irish Red Cross for migrants arriving in Ireland under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP).
The donation comes on receipt of a grant from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to the OCI. Additionally, the OCI gained the support of their Olympic Clothing sponsor New Balance in order to maximise the positive impact of the IOC grant.
The donation, which consists of footwear and sports clothing for adults and children, will be distributed by the Irish Red Cross as part of their efforts to support refugees in Ireland.
The President of the Olympic Council of Ireland Pat Hickey said that by supplementing the grant from the IOC with the contribution from New Balance, the OCI will deliver the greatest positive impact from the resources available. “The OCI has been able to donate in excess of €80,000 of sports equipment, thanks to the support of the IOC and New Balance. It is important for us to be involved in the Irish Refugee Protection Programme and the Irish Red Cross in supporting the refugees in this terrible situation. I would also like to pay tribute to the International Olympic Committee and its President Thomas Bach for making this funding available to National Olympic Committees across Europe to help ease the plight of refugees. It is our duty as members of the European Olympic family to play our part in this endeavour, and the OCI had no hesitation in doing so.”
The Secretary General of the OCI, Dermot Henihan, said: “This significant donation is something we could not do without the assistance of the International Olympic Committee and New Balance. We hope that in the weeks to come we can also assist the Irish Refugee Protection Programme and the Irish Red Cross in developing the best plan possible for the use of the sports shoes and clothing.”
At the request of the Government and as a member of the IRPP taskforce, the Irish Red Cross is coordinating offers of support to the individuals and families impacted by the migration crisis arriving in Ireland over the coming months and years.
Secretary General of the Irish Red Cross, Liam O’Dwyer, spoke of the generosity shown by the Irish public and organisations looking to help those arriving, “We are grateful to the Olympic Council of Ireland for their generous donation. We have been overwhelmed with the response to the migration crisis and by the humanity of those willing to offer support, goods and in some cases their homes to help migrants.”
The Irish Red Cross has a long-standing tradition of assisting with reception, care and integration of people fleeing their home country. In the 1950s, the Irish Red Cross supported Hungarians who fled the Soviet invasion. In the 70s families from Northern Ireland and Vietnam were supported; in the 1980s members of the Baha’i community; and in the 1990s Bosnians escaping the Balkans war.
More information on the Irish Red Cross’ role in migration can be found at www.redcross.ie/migration.