Veterans Charity Marks 70 years with Launch of 2021 Fuchsia Appeal
Photos by John O’Byrne
For 70 years Óglaigh Náisiúnta na hÉireann (Organisation of National Ex-Service Personnel: O.N.E.) has supported veterans of the Irish Defence Forces. To mark this anniversary it launched this year’s Fuchsia Appeal at Dublin’s Mansion House, the very spot the organisation was formed in 1951.
Since its inception O.N.E. has stood to its founding principles set out by General Costello. In a 1951 message to ex-servicemen he said:
‘It is important that we remember what brings us together – what interest we have in common. It is quite simply the common bond of past service in Ireland in her armed forces. We are old comrades in arms wishing to maintain and strengthen old associations and traditions’General Costello 1951
The fundraising appeal is in aid of Defence Forces veterans who have experienced severe circumstances including homelessness, addictions, and mental health issues. The Fuchsia Appeal campaign will take place from 25 September until 1 October. Members and volunteers will sell fuchsia emblems to raise vital funds for veterans. O.N.E.’s current services cost in the region of €1 million annually and this will rise to €1.5M to adequately address the needs of veterans and to finance the associated services such as helping veterans obtaining permanent housing, access to mental health support and helping veterans re-integrate back into civilian life. O.N.E. assist Defence Forces Veterans with transitioning back into civilian life through the provision of accommodation and providing mental health resources, including help with addiction and peer support. The charity also aids veterans in their search for employment, sustaining permanent housing and has a 90% success rate of getting people who stay in O.N.E. homes back into mainstream living. O.N.E. operates four homes in Athlone, Dublin, Cobh (opening in October 2021), and Letterkenny providing for 54 veterans. A fifth home is planned for Cork City. The charity also runs 37 branches across Ireland, along with 15 support centres. O.N.E. provides 20,000 beds annually, has kept 1,000 veterans off the streets and 90% of veterans go on to have permanent housing.
The Lord Mayor of Dublin Cllr Alison Gilliland welcomed the veterans to the Mansion House Round Room. She applauded the charity for the work they do and the service of the veterans they support. Commenting on the launch of the Fuchsia Appeal, O.N.E. CEO Ollie O’ Connor, said: “We are delighted to launch our annual Fuchsia appeal which is particularly poignant as the charity was established 70 years ago here in the Mansion House. Since the charity’s inception in 1951, ONE has helped countless veterans get their lives back on track and without vital funds we would not be able to continue our efforts. “The aim of this fundraiser is to honour the many veterans who have served our country and now need our help to get back on their feet. The past 18 months have been profoundly difficult as the charity was forced to cancel the fundraiser last year due to the pandemic which had a significant effect on our income. The theme of this year’s Fuchsia Appeal is “Help O.N.E. make Ireland one of the best places to be a Veteran” and through our fundraising efforts, the goal is to continue expanding on the vital services of ONE and to generate more awareness and care for our veterans.”
Officially launching the appeal, DCOS Support, Major General Seán Clancy said:
“It is 70 years since ONE was formed, a wonderful organisation which provides support, comradeship and advocacy for our veterans. I am very honoured to launch the annual Fuchsia appeal and support this most worthwhile of charities. The past 18 months, in the midst of a global pandemic, has heightened the challenges faced by some of our former members. Óglaigh na hÉireann recognises the need to provide support to its retired servicemen and women who are part of our Defence Forces family. We are fully committed to helping ONE and their wonderful work in supporting our veterans”.