Irish dairy co-operatives and their farm families throughout Ireland answered a clarion call by Co. Longford dairy farmer Mike Magan to help raise funds for the people of Yemen who are afflicted by war and famine.
The results of that grass roots campaign were realised on Friday as the leaders of co-operatives from all over Ireland joined ICOS President Jerry Long and Mike Magan in an online ceremony to transfer €190,000 to the Irish Red Cross, represented by Secretary General Trevor Holmes.
An additional €105,000 was also donated by other companies and individuals in the dairy supply chain in support of the initiative.
As a milk producer, Mike Magan had described his feelings on seeing the dreadful plight of children and families in Yemen. He proposed a grass roots initiative asking each of Ireland’s dairy farmers to donate the equivalent of one day’s milk from a cow to the Red Cross for its work in Yemen. Irish farm families and their dairy co-operatives responded immediately.
Pressing the button for the transfer of €190,000 to the Irish Red Cross, ICOS President Jerry Long said, “This is a very significant gesture of solidarity by the dairy farmers of Ireland, along with their co-operatives and milk purchasers, to recognise and respond to the plight of those significantly less fortunate than ourselves.”
“The inception of this initiative comes down to the passion of one man, Mike Magan, who reached out to ICOS among others, with his idea to respond to a shocking human tragedy that was emerging in Yemen. Its success was then assured as co-op leaders and farm families across the country responded magnificently, each using methods appropriate to their own structure, to raise the necessary funds.”
“It’s important to acknowledge the fruits of the campaign, and to thank the farmers of Ireland, and their co-ops and milk processors, for responding so generously and we are privileged to make this donation on their behalf to the Irish Red Cross, which carries out immensely valuable work in the interests of humanity.”
“Those co-operatives, processors, and individual farmers already donate to any number of local and national charities; but in this instance they chose to do even more, in the context of a particularly moving tragedy.”
“The scale of this response demonstrates the enormous goodwill and decency that exists within Irish farmers. We also remember our own tragic history in Ireland, and this gives us an empathy for those who now face such troubles. It is clear that the spirit of Horace Plunkett, who founded the co-operative movement in 1894, is alive and well in our movement today.”
“Dairy farmers and our industry represent an enormous force for good, generating sustainable livelihoods for tens of thousands of families in the rural and sometimes forgotten parts of Ireland, based on an understanding for the basics of life, of nature, and genuine empathy and human decency.”
“I pay tribute to all dairy farmers, Mike Magan, the Irish Red Cross, all contributors and everyone who has put their shoulder to the wheel behind this initiative,” said Jerry Long.
Mike Magan said, “I’m humbled but not surprised by the wonderful response of the dairy farming community and others who have donated to this cause. We live in a land of plenty, and have very significant resources. While our country currently has its own major health crisis, the crisis in other countries is magnified a hundredfold, so I thought why not share some of our good fortune. I’ve been blown away by the response and I send my warmest appreciation to farmers, co-operatives, members of the public and everyone who has supported this call”.
Trevor Holmes, Secretary General, Irish Red Cross said, “The people of Ireland have always shown their generosity, particularly in times of famine and crisis for others. It is very moving and appropriate that this level of donation came about through the initiatives and generosity of primary food producers in Ireland where the Irish Red Cross will now use these resources to support families and communities in Yemen. On behalf of the Irish Red Cross and our international organisation, I thank the dairy farmers and co-operatives of Ireland.”
28 May 2021