MEMBERS of the Organisation of National Ex-Service Personnel (ONE) were joined by Defence Minister Simon Coveney and Defence Forces Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Seán Clancy at City Hall yesterday to launch the charity's annual Fuchsia Appeal.
The fundraising campaign, which will continue throughout the month of September and involve several events across the country, will see members and volunteers sell symbolic fuchsia emblems to raise much-needed funds for Irish Defence Forces veterans.
ONE offers housing and support to homeless veterans across Ireland, with the ultimate goal of helping the ex-personnel access permanent accommodation.
The organisation also has a professional counselling service to support the mental health of struggling veterans.
Also in attendance at the launch of the 2022 Fuchsia Appeal in Cork yesterday was Secretary General of the Department of Defence, Jacqui McCrum.
"Veterans volunteered to join the Defence Forces, nobody volunteered to be a homeless veteran," CEO of ONE, Cormac Kirwan said, speaking ahead of the launch of the 2022 Fuchsia Appeal.
ONE is currently developing another home in Cork city at the top of St Luke’s, to bring its homeless accommodation to 57 bedrooms nationwide.
As well as providing accommodation, the organisation has a network of 15 veteran support centres and 38 branches, where veterans are assisted in their pursuit of housing, mental health support, peer counselling, addiction services and employment opportunities.
The charity has an annual operating budget of approximately €1.1 million for current services, as well as additional spending based on the capital projects being undertaken.
The organisation says that while it is grateful for the State funding it receives, there is "a significant deficit that must be raised by the charity to support its vital services".