500 bags of coal given to Limerick’s needy

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Mayor Michael Sheahan and Michael Murphy, director of St Vincent de Paul. Thanks to donations from businesses across Limerick, 500 bags of coal have been given to families this Christmas [Picture: Michael Cowhey]
THE generosity of Limerick businesses and individuals has been made clear after 500 bags of coal were donated to needy families.

THE generosity of Limerick businesses and individuals has been made clear after 500 bags of coal were donated to needy families.

Mayor Michael Sheahan joined many of his predecessors in organising the Christmas appeal, whereby local businesses contribute to a fund to help city families who are less well off.

And he enlisted the help of St Vincent de Paul in deciding what went where.

More than €8,000 was donated, and the first citizen now hopes to use the remainder to help less well off people in areas outside the city.

“There are pockets in the rural areas, particularly around the Castleconnell, Ballybrown and Ballyneety areas that might not have benefitted first time around. I am working with Friends of the Elderly in Castleconnell, who will be talking to the people who might not have been taken care of in the first round,” Mayor Sheahan confirmed.

To be able to donate 500 bags of coal to city folk was a “fantastic feeling”, Cllr Sheahan said, and he called for more co-ordination of charity efforts in future. “It is great that working with a charity organisation like St Vincent de Paul, putting a plan together can work. I think what maybe is needed is the other groups who help families over Christmas team up, and there is greater co-ordination and it would reach a wider number of people,” he explained.

Asked whether he feels the scheme has been a success, the mayor joked: “The fact I have not heard anything from anyone would suggest it is working! No-one called me to say they received two bags, so that is good!”

However, he says if any family feels they may have missed out, they can contact his office at City Hall, and speak to him.

“I would expect some calls to be made to my office, and I will be using that money [the remainder] very wisely,” he said.

Previously, Mayor Sheahan said he teamed up with St Vincent de Paul as he is conscious of a “new poor” developing here, one which may be too afraid to seek support.

St Vincent De Paul’s links with communities may help identify these sections of society, he said.