President Visits Brú na bhFiann (Home of the Brave)

Standard

As published in An Cosantóir in February 2017
Report and photos by Sgt Wayne Fitzgerald

On Wednesday 23rd November President Higgins visited Brú na bhFiann (Home of the Brave) to see
the work being done in ONE’s original home for former members of the Defence Forces who may have fallen on hard times and need somewhere to live. The president met several residents and staff from the home as well as some residents and staff from ONE’s other homes in Letterkenny and Athlone who were there for the occasion.

Brú Na BhFiann manager, Dick Dillon; asst manager, Sinéad Black; President Higgins; CQMS Michael Tynan (retd); and ONE CEO, Ollie O’Connor.

The current Brú na BhFiann (the original, smaller home was opened in 1994) is a six-storey, custom-built building that opened in 2003. It is managed by Sgt Major Dick Dillon (retd), assisted by Sinéad Black and a small dedicated staff. The home can cater for up to 30 residents in subsidised temporary accommodation.

The story of Brú na bhFiann began in the winter of 1988/89 during an earlier crisis in homelessness, when a number of former soldiers were among seven people who died from hypothermia while living rough on the streets of Dublin. So touched were they by the plight of some former colleagues that Pat Dunleavy and others within ONE decided to start a home for ex-soldiers down on their luck, even going as far as raising mortgages on their own houses to generate the necessary finance.

President Higgins with residents of Brú Na BhFiann.

It was in this spirit that ONE’s CEO, Ollie O’Connor, welcomed the president to the home, saying:

“Brú na bhFiann is a home built on a dream of providing a safe haven for those who through their service in the Defence Forces brought honour to Ireland, and to ensure that never again would a soldier be found dead on our streets.” In closing, he said: “In this historic year of 2016, homelessness is still very much a part of Ireland’s story and we have yet to fully attain our goals.”

Addressing those gathered, President Higgins said:

“I am delighted as Patron of the Organisation of National Ex-Service Personnel to have this opportunity to visit this wonderful facility and it is appropriate to have these great services available to people who served Ireland at home and abroad. It is a basic right to have food and shelter and it’s important to take steps to break the cycle of poverty; while a good health service and housing policy are very important, it is also important that people recover, as well as the economy.”

To fund ONE’s valiant homeless initiatives, which are acknowledged by the government and the Defence Forces/DoD, the organisation needs to raise €600,000 annually to continue running the homes and maintain them in a satisfactory condition.

Brú Na BhFiann manager, Dick Dillon and asst manager, Sinéad Black showing President Higgins one of the rooms available

As one small way of fundraising, a number of guest rooms are available in Brú na bhFiann for overnight stays for all serving and former members of the Defence Forces, priced at €30 for a single room, €55 for a double. To make a reservation, phone Brú Na BhFiann on 01-485 0600, Monday to Friday during business hours. By availing of this service you can also help to support the home’s great work.

The president with managers of ONE’s other homes and drop-in centres.

In addition to its other functions ONE has also assumed responsibility for representing DF pensioners, as the representative bodies PDFORRA and RACO can only represent serving personnel. ONE has also broadened its lobbying abilities to represent ex-service personnel in a wide range of ancillary areas. For more information on ONE, visit www.oneconnect.ie

 

 

Read these stories and more in An Cosantóir (The Defender) The official magazine of the Irish Defence Forces – www.dfmagazine.ie.

ONE FUCHSIA APPEAL 2013

Standard

As published in An Cosantóir in October 2013.
By Sgt Wayne Fitzgerald – Photos Sgt Mick Burke

On June 27th Óglaigh Náisiúnta na hÉireann Teoranta (Organisation of National Ex-Servicemen and Women), or ONE as it is more commonly known, launched its annual Fuchsia Appeal in Brú na bhFiann (Home of the Brave) on North King St, Dublin.
ONE has been providing residential facilities in Dublin since 1994, and now has two other residential centres in Letterkenny and Athlone, and two drop-in centres in Dundalk and Limerick. The organisation currently provides housing for up to 40 former Defence Forces members and needs over €600,000 annually to run its current facilities.

The overall objective is to ensure the welfare of ex-servicemen and women who may have become homeless, infirm or suffer from a disability. ONE also promotes a spirit of comradeship between serving and retired members and provides information on pensions, social welfare, and other entitlements.

This year’s appeal was launched by Minister of State at the Department of Defence, Paul Kehoe TD and Defence Forces Chief of Staff Lt Gen Seán McCann.

Minster Keogh said in his speech:

“The work ONE does is practical and supports the welfare needs in hard and difficult times.” He went on to add: “It’s great to see ex-service personnel come out and parade at different events up and down the country and show their pride in the organisation.”

Minister of State at the Department of Defence, Paul Kehoe TD

In his address Lt Gen Seán McCann said:

 

“In the last three years as chief of staff of the Defence Forces, I have watched with a mixture of pride and gratitude the great work that ONE does on a daily basis for our ex-servicemen and women around the country. As I come towards the end of my term as chief of staff I am delighted to be invited here today to launch this year’s Fuchsia Appeal as ONE has a very special place in the wider Defence Forces family.”

Defence Forces Chief of Staff Lt Gen Seán McCann

Also speaking at the launch ONE CEO Ollie O’Connor said:

 

“The Fuchsia appeal is of critical importance to the organisation. It enables us to help former colleagues who are having a difficult time and without a home. Many of these people gave outstanding service to the state and to the United Nations and for one reason or another have not been able to make ends meet since leaving the service. The homes and drop-in centres do not just provide accommodation, but also an opportunity to meet and socialise with others who served. This we feel is important. Most of the people who spend time with us move on to independent living after a period of time with support and comradeship”

DF Chief of Staff Lt Gen Seán McCann, Minister Keogh and ONE CEO Ollie O’Connor at the launch.

The Fuchsia 2013 appeal ran throughout June and July but if you would still like to donate to ONE you can do so through PayPal or standing order. No donation is considered too small and all are welcome. For more information contact ONE on 01-4850666 or email info@oneconnect.ie. Registered charity No. CHY 13868

As published in An Cosantóir in October 2013.Read these stories and more in An Cosantóir (The Defender) The official magazine of the Irish Defence Forces – www.dfmagazine.ie.