The classic and vintage tractor movement is gearing up to take part in a national show of solidarity with victims of flooding.
Michael Fahey, the Thurles man who recently auctioned off one of his vintage tractors to raise €2,300 for flood victims, is planning to take his fundraising nationwide by organising a series of rallies over the weekend of January 16 and 17 which they hope will lead to further events throughout the month across the country.
Michael was contacted by many well-wishers after auctioning a ‘Little Grey Fergie’ last month in aid of the flood-relief work of Clare Red Cross. He has since been in contact with many tractor enthusiasts and established the Tractor Action Tipperary.
He hosted a meeting in Thurles on Monday (Jan 4) to organise further fund raising to support people affected by the month-long storms that have wrecked homes in several counties.
The funds will be donated to the Irish Red Cross Storm and Flood Appeal.
Michael, who has been raising charitable funds for many years and runs a forestry services business, said many of the people affected are in rural communities where he works, so he has deep understanding of the difficulties being faced.
"It's not just the damage to the house and loss of belongings, but the mental pressure as well, as parents have to explain why bedrooms are ruined and toys thrown out, they will need whatever comfort we can bring them.
"We don't need to know them, but they are our people"
"We may be a group of tractor enthusiasts but it doesn't matter how the money is raised, we are here to collect for the victims and pass it on just as soon as we can," Michael said.
The Tractor Action Tipperary has already arranged two classic tractor and vehicle runs in Co Tipperary with the message going out to other clubs and organisations asking them to organise similar events or whatever other activity they feel appropriate.
School non-uniform days, quiz nights, dances, cake stalls were also suggested at Monday’s meeting attended by Darren Ryan, Irish Red Cross board member.
Darren attended Monday’s meeting and thanked Michael for what called a tremendous act of solidarity.
“It was evident from the meeting that people felt disturbed and moved by what they were seeing and hearing through the media. They also showed great understanding of what a flooding emergency means for those affected.
“They were appreciative of the work of Irish Red Cross volunteers across the country and recognised that a great deal of work and expense arises in the longer aftermath of a flood,” Mr Ryan said.
The funds raised will be used by the Irish Red Cross to help with clean-up costs such as provision of fuel, disinfectant, pumps and dehumidifiers.
Tractor Action Tipperary have Facebook page a dedicated website www.tractorauction.eu where news and a schedule of events will be published. Interest parties can contact Michael Fahey at 062 55862 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.