He features in the first episode of a new series called Changing Ireland: My Big Idea, which starts on RTÉ1 on Monday at 8.30pm.
In the series, we meet people working to solve some of Ireland’s biggest social challenges — from health to housing, to food waste: people whose big ideas are indeed changing Ireland.
We meet John, founder of Irish Community Rapid Response, and his team in Rathcoole Aerodrome, near Millstreet, and join him on the day the helicopter is tasked on its first mission through the 999/112 system, as part of the national emergency response framework.
But for John, there is little time to celebrate, with the challenge of raising €2 million to keep the charity-funded service in the skies hanging over the team.
Also in the episode, we pay a visit to Kilbeggan Men’s Shed.
Some 10,000 men a week visit one of more than 450 such Men’s Sheds across Ireland.
In Kilbeggan, the members are busy having a laugh, baking scones, playing hurling and sharing news with each other as part of their weekly ‘news-round’.
When one of the members, Johnny Hannify, was invited to join following the death of his wife Maureen, he didn’t know what to expect.
However, when he left the shed after his first visit, Johnny had already made around 20 friends that he still regards as pals to this day.
Meanwhile, at FoodCloud’s Dublin Hub in Tallaght, Aoibheann O’Brien and Iseult Ward and their team are working to realise their vision of a world where no good food goes to waste.
These fearless founders tell us how, with 30-50% of food being wasted internationally, FoodCloud has developed smart local solutions to a global problem that can sometimes seem too big to tackle. So far, they’ve helped ensure the equivalent of a staggering 75 million meals have gone to people and not to waste.
And not only is there a social impact, but there’s an environmental one too
Also in Changing Ireland, Hugh Brennan is a man on a mission to address the affordability crisis in housing in Ireland.
His Ó Cualann Co-Housing Alliance project has already delivered affordable homes in Dublin and now he is determined to scale his impact. We join him as he is working to deliver 49 homes in Ballymun.