Dublin charity gets €20,000 worth of masks from Irish expats in China

Published:  7 Apr at 6 PM
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An appeal by an Irish expat living and working in China has resulted in donations totalling €20,000 being used to send protective equipment to the home country.

Fiona Sheahan, an expat teacher at a Shanghai primary school, also heads up an Irish community group holding traditional cultural events such as St Patrick’s Day, cancelled this year due to the pandemic. Intending to raise money for essential personal protection items desperately needed back home, she posted on WeChat calling for donations. Much to her amazement, over four days the amount donated had risen to €20,000, meaning she could source the much-needed items and have them sent to Ireland.

The first order of 5,000 surgical masks is now due to arrive at the offices of Dublin’s Inner City Helping Homeless charity, whose CEO has been desperately searching for affordable supplies of the protective coverings. All the masks purchased and shipped have been approved and were ordered through suppliers who work with the city’s Irish Embassy. Fiona rejected offers from other suppliers as she needed to be certain the masks were effective.

When asked by reporters about the situation in the vast city, she said temperature checks are still being carried out but entry to various expat residential compounds is now far easier. Everyone is still wearing protective masks and restaurants and bars are now allowed to open although customers are in short supply. She added there’s a real feeling the worst is over and the crisis is now past.

Back in Dublin, the charity’s CEO said the masks will be mostly given to senior citizens as well as to the many volunteers who deliver food parcels to those in need and those working in hostels for the homeless across the country. He added the hostels are having a bad time due to restricted space for isolating those infected with the virus, even although the local government is doing its best to help.
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