Press Releases

And we’re back – Oxfam Ireland launch volunteer appeal ahead of Northern Ireland shops reopening

  • Bag up you pre-loved items for donation – Oxfam Ireland  
  • Support people and planet by shopping at Oxfam  

26 April

This Friday, 30th April, Oxfam shops across Northern Ireland will reopen for business (and donations!) but the top priority for the organisation is new volunteers to lend a hand in their network of shops across Northern Ireland.  

Volunteers play a vital role in Oxfam’s work globally, while also providing a solution to throwaway fashion by saving items from ending up in landfills here at home. By giving a little of their time and creativity, each one makes a huge difference in support of some of the most at-risk communities in the world, while helping our planet along the way.

Trevor Anderson, Director of Trading with Oxfam Ireland, said: "As our shop teams swing back into action in preparation for their long-awaited reopening, we have launched an appeal across Northern Ireland for volunteers to join our teams. 

“I would encourage anyone interested in lending some time to make an application through our online portal - people can give as little or as much time as they like, and we provide full training. Oxfam shops are a hive of activity with plenty of opportunities to meet new people, learn new skills, and of course, have lots of fun.” 

At the end of December, Oxfam shops in Northern Ireland, along with many other local businesses closed their doors for the third time since the pandemic was declared – to their protect staff, volunteers, donors and customers and play their part in Northern Ireland’s response to Covid-19.

Anderson continued: “The loss of income during this period dealt a blow as the income our shops generate is central to supporting Oxfam's global work to beat poverty and fight inequality. However, we have amazing supporters who have helped us bounce back after each lockdown by shopping and donating to their local Oxfam shop, and we expect this time to be no different. 

“Our shop Managers are in store from Friday, 23 April, and will be accepting donations from members of the public.  We would also ask people to work with us as we reopen, to ensure everyone has a safe and positive experience when visiting our shops.

"We're really looking forward to seeing all of our staff and volunteers in store again, doing what they do best, and we're so excited to welcome our customers and donors back.

"It is because of the commitment and enthusiasm of our staff, volunteers, and supporters that Oxfam can change lives and work toward building a fairer and more sustainable world for everyone.”

Apply to volunteer with your local Oxfam shop here: https://www.oxfamireland.org/getinvolved/volunteer/apply

Find your nearest Oxfam Ireland shop here: https://www.oxfamireland.org/shop/oxfam-shops

END 

Contact

Caroline Reid | +353 87 912 3165 | caroline.reid@oxfam.org
 

Notes to the Editor

Safety measures Oxfam Ireland Shops will be taking:

  • All shops have a suite of PPE: sneeze screens in front of the tills, social distancing measures and messaging throughout the shop and a sanitation station at the entrance. 
  • Staff and volunteers will wear masks and they will have an infrared thermometer in each shop to ensure regular check-ups - as well plenty of handwashing - throughout the day. 
  • We do expect a surge in donations and have put guidelines and processes in place to manage this eventuality.  
  • As part of the overall ‘Covid Compliant Reopening Plan’ which focuses on the Health & Safety of our Staff, Volunteers, Customers and Donors we will be following the up to date government guidelines regarding the quarantining of donations 
  • All shops have had a risk assessment carried out and all staff and volunteers will be taken through Covid-19 Compliant Health & Safety training before they start their shift. 
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Hundreds of NGOS call on governments to increase aid to prevent global hunger crisis

  • UN warning of “famines of biblical proportions” goes unheeded with only five percent of food security appeal funded

20 April 2021

Today, more than 200 NGOs published an open letter calling on all governments to urgently increase aid to prevent over 34 million people from being pushed to the brink of starvation this year. 

A year on since the UN warned of “famines of biblical proportions”, rich donors have funded just five percent of the UN’s $7.8 billion food security appeal for 2021, while globally, world food prices reached a seven-year high in February of this year.

At the end of 2020, the UN estimated that 270 million people were either at high risk of, or already facing, acute levels of hunger. While 174 million people in 58 countries have reached that level already and are at risk of dying from malnutrition or lack of food, and this figure is only likely to rise in coming months if nothing is done immediately.

Jim Clarken, Chief Executive of Oxfam Ireland said: “While both the Irish government and public have been consistently generous in their support of aid efforts, global funding is not keeping pace with the increasing need - even with extreme hunger crises looming for millions more people across the world.

"Conflict is the biggest driver of global hunger, which is also exacerbated by climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic."

From Yemen, to Afghanistan, South Sudan and Northern Nigeria, conflicts and violence are forcing millions to the brink of starvation, with many people living in conflict zones sharing horrifying stories of hunger and the impact on food supplies.

Fayda from Lahj governorate in Yemen says: “When humanitarian workers came to my hut, they thought I had food because smoke was coming from my kitchen. But I was not cooking food for my children – instead, I could only give them hot water and herbs, after which they went to sleep hungry.”

Nearly two out of every five families in Yemen buy food and medicines using debt, according to Oxfam research, which revealed that Yemeni families are trapped in a cycle of informal debt, living precariously and reliant on good will as they lurch from one month to the next.  

Amb. Ahmed Shehu, Regional Coordinator for the Civil Society Network of Lake Chad Basin said: “The situation here is really dire. Seventy percent of people in this region are farmers but they can’t access their land because of violence, so they can’t produce food. These farmers have been providing food for thousands for years – now they have become beggars themselves. Food production is lost, so jobs are lost, so income is lost, so people cannot buy the food. Then, we as aid workers cannot safely even get to people to help them.” 

Clarken Concluded: "Ireland, as a recently elected member of the UN Security Council, now has an important role in promoting respect of international humanitarian law and the protection of civilians in time of armed conflict.  

"At the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic the UN Secretary General called for a global ceasefire to address the pandemic but too few leaders have sought to implement it.

“Together, we must now push global leaders to support durable and sustainable solutions to conflict, and open pathways for humanitarians to access communities in conflict zones to save lives.”

ENDS

Contact

Caroline Reid | caroline.reid@oxfam.org | 087 912 3165

Notes to the Editor


QUOTES FROM NGO LETTER SIGNATORIES:

Oxfam International Executive Director, Gabriela Bucher said:  

“The richest countries are slashing their food aid even as millions of people go hungry; this is an extraordinary political failure. They must urgently reverse these decisions. And we must confront the fundamental drivers of starvation – global hunger is not about lack of food, but a lack of equality.”  

David Miliband, CEO and President of the International Rescue Committee, said:  

“The worsening rate of global hunger is horrifying to witness. Every day we are seeing the human cost of hunger play out in the countries where we work. World leaders must act now to prevent unprecedented levels of suffering, through increased funding and diplomatic efforts to end conflict and improve humanitarian access.” 
 
CARE International Secretary General, Sofía Sprechmann Sineiro said:  

“Whether Yemen, Syria or the DRC, funding to respond to the hunger crisis is not materializing. Yet trillions are invested in rescue packages for corporates all over the world. Donors must step up. It is not a matter of affordability; it is a matter of political will. CARE’s evidence base tells us that for every dollar women earn, 80 cents go back into the family, compared with 30 cents of every dollar men earn. Gender inequality is a key predictor of the occurrence and recurrence of armed conflict. If we fail to grasp this simple fact, we will fail to prevent or effectively counter famine. 

Save the Children’s CEO, Inger Ashing said:  

"We have warned donors over and over again – their inaction is leading to death and despair among children, as we see in countries across the globe every single day. A pledging conference for Yemen in early March did not even raise half of the funds needed, and that country is at a tipping point. It’s painful, because governments have the money. That thousands of children will be dying of hunger and disease in 2021 is a political choice – unless governments radically choose to help save the lives of children.”  

The Danish Refugee Council Secretary General, Charlotte Slente said:  

“Among the growing number of refugees and displaced persons, lack of access to food severely worsens an already critical situation. DRC calls on all governments to act now to prevent global hunger from adding further destitution to the world’s most vulnerable groups of people.”

World Vision International President & CEO, Andrew Morley said:  

“Let me be direct: there is no place or excuse for famine in the 21st century. The fact we have reached this point shows there has been a clear and catastrophic moral failure by the international community. A generation of girls and boys needs us to bring hope, supporting and empowering them to reach their full potential. Children of the world are looking to us to act.” 

Interim CEO of Islamic Relief Worldwide,Tufail Hussain, said: 

“Cutting aid in the middle of a pandemic is morally abhorrent and risks rolling back decades of development. Failure to act now will cast a shadow over generations to come, as malnutrition affects young children’s cognitive and physical development for the rest of their lives. The world must not wait for famine to be declared before helping people who are starving right now. We are calling for global solidarity to end hunger and stand with the world’s poorest people.”

Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, CEO of Plan International, said:  

“We are witnessing a devastating global hunger crisis, which will hit girls and women the hardest. In countries like South Sudan, we are already hearing reports of hunger-related deaths and families going entire days without food. Others are making heartbreaking choices, marrying their daughters early or saving what little food they have for working members of the household. It is critical that world leaders step up and provide more funding for humanitarian assistance – otherwise, we risk millions of avoidable deaths.” 

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EU must urgently reconsider opposition to TRIPS waiver - Mary Robinson

  •  Former President Mary Robinson and Nobel Laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire call on President Biden to waive intellectual property rules for Covid-19 vaccines 

16 April 2021

Today, former Irish President and UN Human Rights Commissioner, Mary Robinson called on EU’s leaders “to put the collective right to safety for all ahead of everything else - and come together to end this pandemic”. Robinson’s comments come after news that US President Joe Biden is considering supporting a patent waiver of intellectual property rules for Covid-19 vaccines at the international level. 

The waiver of intellectual property rules, known as the TRIPS waiver, would allow for a scale up in manufacturing globally, overcoming artificial supply constraints while helping to reduce further distribution crises.  

Jim Clarken, Chief Executive of Oxfam Ireland said: “The continuance of monopoly control by a small number of vaccine makers, and the resulting global vaccine inequality, is leaving millions of lives hanging in the balance by putting corporate profit before people. 

 “Oxfam fully support Mary Robinson’s call for EU leaders to urgently reconsider their opposition to the TRIPS waiver - and offer their full support . By doing this, the European Union will not only save millions of peoples’ lives, but also mitigate the risk to our economies and the current backslide in workplace gender equality.” 

Earlier this week, the former Irish President added her name to an open letter to Biden. The letter was sent to the White House as news spread about the pausing of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine – which will severely hinder vaccine roll out plans across the world, including in Ireland.  

Alongside Robinson, Nobel Peace Laureate, Mairead Corrigan Maguire and more than 150 former heads of state and Nobel laureates, called on President Biden to support the TRIPS waiver and pursue a people’s vaccine to end the pandemic.  

While there have been some welcome steps to increase the supply of vaccines to poor countries, including from Ireland, they remain insufficient when compared to the scale of the Covid-19 threat. 

In February, Oxfam Ireland, along with a number of organisations, networks and health professionals wrote an open letter to Micheál Martin, urgently requesting Ireland’s support for this temporary emergency waiver, which is currently supported by more than 100 nations. 

Clarken concluded: “To control the virus, the simple reality is, enough vaccines need to be produced in different geographies, priced affordably, and allocated globally. Low-income countries should not be forced to wait for vaccines to trickle down to them.

 “Ireland has a well-deserved reputation of supporting the human rights of the world’s poorest people. At this critical moment in history, we should reaffirm our values and leadership on the world stage by, as the letter to Biden states, choosing ‘to put the collective right to safety for all ahead of the commercial monopolies of the few’. 

 “Covid-19 is a public health crisis, and as such demands a global solution. It is time to break from old ways, and pave new ones that we can all have an equal footing on."

END 

Contact 

Caroline Reid | caroline.reid@oxfam.org | 087 912 3165 

Editor's Notes 

  • See Mary Robinson's op-ed in the UK Times here.
  • The full letter to President Biden and list of signatories can be found here

The letter specifically asks President Biden to support a proposal from the South African and Indian governments at the World Trade Organization (WTO) to temporarily waive intellectual property rules related to Covid-19 vaccines and treatments. At the current pace of vaccine production, most poor nations will be left waiting until at least 2024 to achieve mass Covid-19 immunisation.

The leaders also called for the intellectual property waiver to be accompanied by the open sharing of vaccine know-how and technology, and by coordinated and strategic global investment in research, development, and manufacturing capacity, especially in developing countries, underscoring that threats to public health are global and require global solidarity-based solutions.       

Former leaders who signed the letter included Gordon Brown, former UK prime minister; François Hollande, former French president; Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the USSR. 

The letter, which was coordinated by the People’s Vaccine Alliance, a coalition of more than 50 organisations including Oxfam, UNAIDS, Global Justice Now and Avaaz, warned that at the current global immunisation rate, it was likely that only 10 percent of people in the majority of poor countries will be vaccinated in the next year.  

  • The open letter sent to Micheál Martin in February by an Irish Coalition can be found here.  

 

 

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Fashion Relief TV is back

  • Preen, Celine, Ganni and Alexander McQueen – Lorraine Keane’s Fashion Relief TV with Oxfam Ireland is back!

  • Designer pieces donated by Laura Whitmore, Caroline Downey and Lorraine Keane on sale this Friday on Fashion Relief TV

  • Fashion Relief TV to feature host of Irish labels like Aideen Bodkin, Louise Kennedy and Fee G

6 April 2021

This Friday, 9 April 2021, Lorraine Keane is back with Fashion Relief TV – her sustainable fashion fundraiser with Oxfam Ireland.

After a nationwide donation drive, the Fashion Relief team are springing back from a short break with rails packed full of pre-loved, brand-new and designer items that were donated by some of Ireland’s most fashionable women as well as Boutiques from across Ireland.

Broadcaster Lorraine Keane said: “Thanks to the generosity of donors we have created our very own little Fashion Relief circular economy – as long as people continue to donate fabulous items, we will continue to have fabulous bargains up for grabs.

Items up for grabs on Fashion Relief TV this week include:

  • Preen by THORNTON BREGAZZI: This red one-shoulder midi dress features an exposed zip back, cinched in waist and full skirt for a flattering and elegant silhouette. Original RRP: €1119 | Fashion Relief Price (FRP): €295
  • FRNCH Coat: FRNCH mid-length coat is designed in a gorgeous orange and white wool mix adding a smart tailored look to your spring look. Original RRP: €165 | FRP: €55
  • Louise Kennedy: Fabulous cobalt crepe dress with embellished detail. RRP Original €995 | FRP: €145
  • Vanessa Seward: This label is renowned for sleek, tailored pieces and this button down denim dress is no exception. Original RRP: €495 | FRP: €165
  • Ganni: Floral print gathered maxi dress by cool Danish brand Ganni. Donated by Lorraine Keane. Original RRP €295 | FRP: €110
  • A number of Lulu Guinness bags, donated by Laura Whitmore, and bags from Alexander McQueen, Thomas Wylde and Jimmy Choo, donated by Caroline and Storm Downey, will also be up for grabs on Friday’s show.

Keane continued: “When Covid hit, Fashion Relief pivoted to an always-on online platform with the tech knowhow of our incredible partners Axonista, so we could continue to offer our supporters amazing bargains with the added bonus of shopping more sustainably while also supporting Oxfam’s global work to beat poverty.

The show, which airs from Keane’s home on Friday evening at 7pm, will be packed full of brand-new and pre-loved donated clothes, shoes and accessories, as well as a host of designer labels like Preen, Celine, Ganni and Alexander McQueen, and much loved Irish labels like Aideen Bodkin, Louise Kennedy and Fee G.

Fashion Relief TV will air from Keane’s home at 7pm on Friday 9th April on www.fashionrelief.ie. After that, people can simply log on any time throughout the week to browse and pick up a bargain.

END

Contact 

Caroline Reid | caroline.reid@oxfam.org | +353 (0) 87 912 3165

Notes to the editor

  • Images for use available upon request
  • Founded in 2018 by Irish broadcaster, Lorraine Keane in partnership with Oxfam, Fashion Relief has become one of Ireland's biggest fashion fundraisers - that offers people the unique opportunity to bag a bargain from the wardrobe of their style icon or beloved brand, boutique or designer. Fashion Relief has since rolled out annual events in Dublin, Cork and Galway, and more recently it pivoted to an online interactive shopping platform – www.fashionrelief.ie.  Fashion Relief also part of Oxfam’s solution to ‘throwaway fashion’, encouraging people to donate pre-loved items rather than binning them. Retailers are also supported to donate their end-of-line or excess stock instead of sending it to landfill – a more sustainable solution for people and planet. 
  • All profits support Oxfam’s work in some of the world’s poorest countries, helping people to lift themselves out of poverty and thrive as well as saving lives when disaster strikes. Since its inception, Fashion Relief has raised nearly €270,000 for Oxfam’s work. 
  • Fashion Relief Donation Drive: Email aisling.wallace@oxfam.org to order your pre-paid and addressed Fashion Relief donation bag. People can donate up to 12 items at a time and once their donations are packaged up all they need to do is bring them to their local post office and they will be winging their way to the Fashion Relief team. 
  • Fashion Relief at Frascati Centre Blackrock: Lorraine Keane’s Fashion Relief with Oxfam will have a pop-up shop in the newly renovated Frascati Centre, Blackrock once Covid restrictions are lifted. The shop will boast rail after rail of brand-new and pre-loved donated clothes, shoes and accessories, offering a more sustainable way to shop, while also supporting Oxfam’s global work to beat poverty.
  • Oxfam is a global movement of people who won’t live with the injustice of poverty. Together they save lives and rebuild communities when disaster strikes. They help people build better lives for themselves. They speak out on the big issues that keep people poor, like inequality and discrimination against women. And they won’t stop until every person on the planet can live without poverty. Oxfam Ireland is one of 20 Oxfams working in over 90 countries worldwide. 
  • About Axonista: Axonista is the award-winning team behind Ediflo, an enterprise-level video technology platform that enables media companies and brands to build interactive video applications across all screens. Based in Dublin and New York, and employing a team of 30, this interactive video technology company helps their customers to tell stories in entirely new ways. Axonista’s technology powers some of the world’s most popular video streaming apps. Customers include QVC, Virgin Media, The Home Shopping Network, VideoElephant, WaterBear and the Irish Film Institute. Over a ten year history, Axonista has won numerous awards for its ground-breaking work in video, and was recently named one of the 250 most significant Irish Corporations invested in the US. For more information, visit www.axonista.com
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MEDIA ADVISORY PEOPLE’S VACCINE

EU leaders should stop squabbling and overrule pharma monopolies to boost supply

 

24 March 2021

The EU Council meets tomorrow, Thursday 25 to discuss the European-wide scarcity of Covid-19 vaccines that is sparking a dispute between European countries and the UK. The People’s Vaccine Alliance, supported by world leaders and over 50 organisations worldwide, is campaigning to ensure that safe and effective vaccines are mass-produced for all people around the world as quickly as possible. It has spokespeople available for interview.

The spat between the EU and UK over vaccine shortages was predictable and avoidable. More lives are being put at risk with Covid-19 surging again across Europe. Depending upon just a handful of pharmaceutical companies to produce enough vaccines for the world was never going to work. Yet UK and EU leaders have failed to unlock the pharmaceutical monopolies which are artificially restricting supply and blocking other manufacturers from joining the effort. 

Last week the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen said “all options are on the table” to secure more vaccine supplies, including waiving intellectual property rights. Recent polling in Ireland, France, Germany and Italy shows public support for their governments in overruling pharma monopolies to ensure that safe and effective vaccines are mass produced. 

Overriding intellectual property rules and insisting companies transfer the vaccine blueprints to the World Health Organisation, in order to unlock production capacity around the world, must be top of the EU agenda. Covid-19 is an unprecedented health emergency and not the time to put the profit interests of a few huge pharma corporations ahead of saving lives. As one Paraguayan-Irish woman living in Cork said in the Examiner today: “This is not about “aid”, it is about solidarity and valuing human life.”

This dispute between rich countries does nothing to tackle the underlying cause of vaccine scarcity which is delaying the end to this pandemic. Even the UK – well ahead in its vaccine roll out – faces huge economic damage as its trading partners go largely unvaccinated and the risk of more vaccine-tolerant mutations emerge. People across Europe are suffering and dying due to lack of supply – so too are millions of people in developing countries, most of which are yet to administer a single dose. The root of this problem is the same: too little supply because of pharmaceutical monopolies. Indeed, shortages in Europe and the UK now mean they are tapping into already scarce vaccine supplies meant for poorer countries from the Serum Institute in India. 

Instead of squabbling with each other, the EU and UK should support developing countries in over-riding big pharma’s monopoly control over the vaccines and unlocking more supplies for Europe and the world. They can do this by backing the TRIPs waiver at the WTO – which is supported by over a hundred countries - and by supporting the transfer of vaccine technology through the WHO’s Covid Technology Access Pool (C-TAP). More manufacturers are coming forward by the day from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Senegal, Denmark and Canada with offers to make vaccines but are now blocked from doing so. 

PEOPLE’S VACCINE ALLIANCE SPOKESPEOPLE: 

Jim Clarken, Oxfam Ireland Chief Executive 
Anna Marriot, Oxfam Health Policy Manager 
Dr Mohga Kamal Yanni, Global Health Expert and Senior Health Policy Advisor to The People Vaccine Alliance. 
Max Lawson, Oxfam Head of Inequality Policy. 
Jeroen Kwakkenbos, Oxfam Senior Aid Policy & Development Finance Advisor. 
Peter Kamalingan, Oxfam Pan Africa Programme Director.


Visit People's Vaccine Alliance: https://peoplesvaccine.org/ 

Contact
Caroline Reid | caroline.reid@oxfam.org | 087 912 3165 

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