'Will go a long way': Cork rescue group receives thousands from anonymous donor 

'Will go a long way': Cork rescue group receives thousands from anonymous donor 

Cork City Missing Persons Search and Recovery members Chris O’Donovan, search co-ordinator/treasurer; David Shine, chairman; volunteers Filipe Pombinho and Dinny Kiely; and Dave Varian, secretary. Picture: Jim Coughlan

THE volunteers of Cork City Missing Persons Search and Recovery (CCMPSAR), who are campaigning for new premises, are delighted to have received €5,000 from an anonymous donor.

CCMPSAR secretary David Varian told The Echo: “The donation is absolutely wonderful, and will go a long way in helping us to continue helping, and to continue searching for missing people and long-term missing people.

“The donor wished to remain anonymous, and we’re happy to respect that.”

The donation has come after media coverage of CCMPSAR’s volunteer work, work which, earlier this year, proved instrumental in the recovery from Crosshaven Harbour of the remains of Barry Coughlan, a 23-year-old man missing for 17 years.

“It’s a big step forward for us to get that kind of donation, and with this money we’ll be able to pay for new PPE gear for our volunteers, so that we can continue to go out and search. 

“The money will also go toward new equipment that we’re looking at, and it helps every bit along the way,” Mr Varian said.

Appeal for a permanent premises 

CCMPSAR, which this year marks its 20th year on the water, is appealing to Cork City Council to provide it with a premises in which to store its equipment.

The registered charity, which has 12 members, responds to call-outs from An Garda Síochána and the Coast Guard, assisting with searches for missing persons. In 2020, CCMPSAR was called out 28 times.

The volunteers provide safety boat cover for river-based events, and, earlier this week, they were in the news for rescuing a kitten that had taken up residence in the underside of the Éamon de Valera Bridge.

Donation welcome news 

Cork North Central Sinn Féin TD Thomas Gould welcomed the donation, but said groups like CCMPSAR should not have to rely on the generosity of individual donors.

“Government and Cork City Council have both recognised the wonderful work being done by this organisation,” Mr Gould said, adding that he and Sinn Féin councillor Mick Nugent would continue to fight for a permanent home for the search and recovery unit.

Pádraig O’Sullivan, Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North Central, told The Echo that he has been in communication with Cork City Hall, as well as other State agencies, including the HSE, and will continue to make representations on behalf of CCMPSAR.

Michael McGrath, the public expenditure and reform minister, said he had met with CCMPSAR volunteers last month and had spoken with them about their need for a premises, and he is hopeful that a resolution will be reached.

“There is an enormous amount of goodwill toward them, and while we don’t have a concrete solution yet, we have at least two leads and they are being actively pursued at the moment,” Mr McGrath said.

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