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What a perfect partnership! Lorraine Keane and Maïa Dunphy team up for Oxfam Bridal

16 June 2021

Want to find a beautiful wedding dress that doesn’t cost the earth? Then book yourself an appointment at Oxfam’s Bridal rooms in Dublin and Belfast.

At Oxfam Bridal, you’ll find wedding dresses for all tastes, whether you prefer vintage, designer or pre-loved. Many of the dresses have never been worn but are donated by bridal boutiques or designers, preventing them from going to landfill. So, if shopping on a budget, you could find your dream dress at a fraction of the cost.

You’ll also find some beautiful pre-loved dresses in the mix, like Maïa Dunphy’s stunning Jenny Packham dress, which she generously donated to Oxfam last year, or Lorraine Keane's beautiful lace detailed dress by Spanish designer Jesus Peiro, which she bought in San Sebastián.

And yesterday the pair donned their dresses once more time to encourage brides-to-be to book an appointment at Oxfam Bridal.

Lorraine Keane and Maïa Dunphy donated their wedding dresses to Oxfam

Lorraine, broadcaster and founder of Fashion Relief with Oxfam Ireland, said: “Your wedding day is a time to celebrate love, happiness and a future together. For many couples, incorporating some sustainable elements or charitable giving into their special day is becoming more popular. It's a great way to have a positive impact on the future of others while you celebrate your love and commitment to that special someone in your life.

“You also don’t have to spend a fortune to look a million dollars. By booking an appointment with Oxfam Bridal today, you can browse and try on a selection of beautiful brand new and pre-loved wedding dresses – including my own, which I just donated to Oxfam! From vintage to the occasional designer gown, Oxfam’s dedicated Bridal Rooms stock all styles and sizes – a selection of which are currently on display at the Frascati Centre in Blackrock – as well a range of bridal accessories and bridesmaids' dresses. And, the extra bonus is, by supporting Oxfam, your big day creates a brighter future for people living with the injustice of poverty.”

Broadcaster and writer Maïa, who recently donated her wedding dress, said: "After wearing my dress during lockdown, to raise a smile and funds for a charity close to my heart, I realised there's no point in keeping my gorgeous Jenny Packham wedding dress locked away in a bag forever. I'm never going to wear it again and feared one day I'll take it down for a peek to find a moth hole in it!

After seeing a call out from Lorraine for donations I decided to donate it, hoping that someone else will get as much joy as I did out of wearing something so special. I would encourage other people out there to consider the same. You can give your wedding dress a second life – and contribute to another Bride’s special day – while also helping vulnerable communities the world over by donating your wedding dress to Oxfam's Bridal Rooms.
Photos: Brian McEvoy

Oxfam Bridal are located on George’s Street, Dublin, and at Belfast’s CastleCourt Shopping Centre. Over the coming weeks, you can also check out a selection of Oxfam's wedding dresses at the Frascati Shopping centre in Blackrock, where you’ll find fabulous outfits for amazing prices at Lorraine's Fashion Relief pop-up shop.

Book your appointment for Oxfam Bridal at George’s Street or CastleCourt today!

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Be part of something amazing - join Oxfam Ireland's dynamic board

Oxfam is a global movement of people working together to beat poverty for good. Supported across the island of Ireland for more than 60 years, we save lives and rebuild communities when disaster strikes. When it comes to working with communities to lift themselves out of poverty and thrive, we combine innovation and practicality to ensure they succeed. And we amplify the voices of people whose lives are most impacted by conflict, climate change, poverty and inequality to influence the local and global decisions that affect them.

Our multifaceted approach to tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice is reflected in the make-up of our talented Board of Trustees. This diverse, skilled group of individuals is responsible for overseeing the direction of the organisation and includes senior leaders from the private, public and voluntary sectors across the island of Ireland. They bring a wide range of experience, knowledge and expertise to Oxfam, further enhancing the work we do.

We are currently looking for new members to join our board and support our work as we launch our new, exciting ten year strategic framework. Service is voluntary and involves attending at least five board meetings a year as well as participating in strategic sub-committees. Each member serves a three-year term which can be renewed once.

In return, Oxfam Ireland offers our board members the life-changing opportunity to be part of our development, humanitarian and influencing work, and make a lasting difference to the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people.

For more information on our organisation, please see our year in review: oxfamireland.org/yearinreview

Please send a note of interest and details of relevant experience to the CEO, Oxfam Ireland:Oxfam Ireland,

2nd Floor Portview House, Thorncastle St, Ringsend, Dublin 4

or

Oxfam Ireland, Elizabeth House, Suite 1, 116 – 118 Holywood Road, Belfast, BT4 1NY;

irl-ceo@oxfam.org

Closing date: Friday June 25th 2021 at 12 noon.

Diversity and inclusion are core values of Oxfam Ireland and we expect our board to be representative of the diversity on the island of Ireland.

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From Bangladesh to Vietnam, the global south has the capacity to produce Covid-19 vaccines

10 June 2021

“There’s no point in giving somebody a recipe if they don’t have the kitchen or the cooking skills or the ingredients.”

These were the words of Tánaiste Leo Varadkar last month as he claimed that very few countries in the global south had the infrastructural know-how or materials to make Covid-19 vaccines.

This is simply not true.

Companies in Bangladesh and Pakistan are among a group of firms that have unsuccessfully tried to obtain the rights to increase production of Covid-19 vaccines. In fact, Knowledge Ecology International has identified at least 144 manufacturing facilities in 35 countries that could potentially be used to manufacture these vaccines – if we had an open system with distributed manufacturing and technology transfer, and intellectual property (IP) was waived.

Furthermore, there are already manufacturers making safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines and medicines in Brazil, India and South Africa.

Photo: Nataliya Vaitkevich

The EU, among others, have been stalling negotiations on the trade-related intellectual property rights (TRIPS) waiver at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) since October 2020, when a proposal was first put forward by South Africa and India.

While the EU continues to oppose the TRIPS waiver at the WTO, today the European Parliament supported an amendment calling for Europe to support the temporary suspension of intellectual property rules for Covid-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments.

Waiving IP is not the only step, but it is essential. Producing a vaccine is a complex process and requires access to IP, but also direct transfer of technology, knowledge, and – in some cases – materials.

More than a year ago, the World Health Organisation created the Covid-19 Technology Access Pool, or C-TAP, and invited vaccine producers to collaborate to meet the enormous global need for Covid vaccines, an approach recently supported by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs. So far, however, vaccine-makers have refused to engage with C-TAP.

Witnessing this reluctance originally prompted South Africa and India to propose the TRIPS waiver, which is now supported by over 100 countries. They are seeking more forceful legal measures to gain access to IP related to life-saving technologies. After all, the global pandemic is far from over.

Almost 100,000 people are dying of this virus every week in countries without sufficient access to the vaccine. Just 0.2 percent of the vaccines distributed so far have gone to low-income countries.

To win the race against Covid-19 and its new variants, the whole world needs to be vaccinated.

That is why we, along with a number of other organisations, have proposed that a relevant Oireachtas committee undertake an urgent detailed review of Ireland’s position on the TRIPS waiver.

As Ireland and the EU begins to see the benefits of mass vaccination, we cannot stand in the way of the world’s poorest being given the same access to life-saving medicine.

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Oxfam Ireland welcomes European Parliament’s vote to suspend vaccine patents

Media reaction

10 June 2021

Today, the European Parliament supported an amendment calling for Europe to support the temporary suspension of intellectual property rules for Covid-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments.

In reaction to this vote, Jim Clarken, Chief Executive of Oxfam Ireland, said:

“This vote sends a strong signal that Europeans stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of the world in the fight against the pandemic. European governments, including our own, and the European Commission must stop spouting red-herring arguments and instead follow suit by backing the proposal on the table at the World Trade Organisation. Other qualified producers must be given the know-how and technology to make more vaccines so everyone can access them. 

"We have seen what happens when big pharma only cares about their profits – more deaths and more suffering. They should not be allowed to decide who gets to live or die, especially against the backdrop of emerging variants and countries overwhelmed by new Covid surges. The EU has helped the big pharma billionaires long enough, now we need to help the billions of people who remain at risk. It is time to break the vaccine monopolies and put people before profit.”

END

Contact

Caroline Reid | Communications Manager | caroline.reid@oxfam.org

Notes to editors: 

  • The European Parliament voted today on a resolution on the TRIPS waiver – this vote, while symbolic.  
  • Currently, the EU’s proposal at the WTO table is to end export bans, ramp up the production of vaccine manufacturers and remove the red tape around vaccine production. Oxfam believes:  
  1. Export bans: we support removing export bans wherever possible but getting rid of them does not solve the inequitable distribution of existing vaccines.  
  2. Voluntary licensing agreements: These do nothing to shift us away from the current industry-controlled model where just a handful of powerful corporations retain control over global vaccine supplies and continue to prioritise profitable deals with richer countries leaving poorer countries at the back of the queue. Any voluntary licensing should be done through the World Health Organisation’s Covid Technology Access Pool to maximise vaccine production by qualified manufacturers around the world rather than those handpicked by big pharma.  
  3. COVAX: This mechanism aims to vaccinate 20 - 27% of the population in eligible countries by the end of this year. It is dangerously off-track having only delivered a third of the planned doses. COVAX remains over-dependent on just one supplier from India which due to the rapid spread of the virus in India will not provide any further doses to COVAX until the end of the year. These failings only increase the urgency to ramp up manufacturing around the world which will increase competition lowering vaccine prices.  
  • The TRIPs waiver was tabled by South Africa and India in October 2020 to boost vaccine supplies and other Covid-19 health technologies globally. Recently, the US joined over 100 other countries and backed this waiver for the vaccines.  
  • Oxfam is part of the People’s Vaccine Alliance, a movement advocating that Covid-19 vaccines are manufactured rapidly and at scale, as global common goods, free of intellectual property protections and made available to all people, in all countries, free of charge. 
  • The call for a TRIPs waiver is supported by nearly 400 MEPs and MPs, 175 Nobel laureates and former Heads of State and Governments, the Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), scientists, trade unions, NGOs and the general public. 
  • Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech’s successful mRNA vaccines are set to become two of the three bestselling pharmaceutical products in the world. The companies are projecting revenues of $33.5 billion in 2021 from their vaccines. Their vaccines are also the most expensive, ranging from $13.50 to $74 per course, with both firms looking to increase prices. In an investor call, Pfizer cited between $150 and $170 a dose as the typical price it receives for vaccines. This is despite a study from the Imperial College in London showing that the cost of production of new mRNA vaccines could be between 60 cents and $2 a dose.  
  • Vaccine production has created 9 new billionaires. Meanwhile, current vaccination rates mean low-income countries will be waiting 57 years for their entire population to be vaccinated.  
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Turning 18 as an unaccompanied minor in Ireland - “it was a very dark time”

  • New research puts forward recommendations for treatment of unaccompanied minors in Europe

10 June 2021


New research released today by Oxfam, the Greek Council for Refugees, the Dutch Council for Refugees, and ACLI France sounds the alarm about the risks facing young people seeking refuge in Europe. The research was conducted through interviews with refugees, frontline staff and researchers in Ireland, France, Greece, the Netherlands, and Italy.

The report looks at how unaccompanied minors across Europe are falling through the gaps and into situations of extreme vulnerability. The most worrying trend revealed in the report is the changes to supports once an unaccompanied young person in the asylum process reaches their 18th birthday.  

Jim Clarken, Chief Executive of Oxfam Ireland, said: “While for many teenagers around the world, turning 18 is a milestone – a moment of joy and independence - our research finds that for minors seeking refuge in Europe, this is a moment of massive anxiety. As turning 18 symbolises losing support due to the sharp nosedive in protective legal frameworks.

“One of the key tenants of EU law is protecting minors regardless of their legal status. This protection helps shield them from the high risk of abuse, homelessness, and exploitation. Turning 18 does not mean these risks disappear overnight, yet the protection they receive dramatically shifts. No longer considered children in the eyes of the law, young unaccompanied minors can find themselves displaced for a second time.” 

Reuben, who arrived in Ireland as an unaccompanied minor and since been granted status*: “It’s hard, because you are just learning how to live with your foster family, and then you have to leave.” 

European law ensures that unaccompanied minors arriving in Europe are housed in child-appropriate accommodation and are appointed a social worker to support them with administrative and legal matters. In Ireland, unaccompanied minors in the asylum process are in many cases removed from foster or residential care once they turn 18 and are sent to Direct Provision - where they find themselves living in the same room as adult strangers and quite often in a different region to where they were first accommodated.  

Lee, who arrived in Ireland as an unaccompanied minor and since been granted status*: “You’re not fully an adult at 18, most Irish kids are still living with their parents at 18.” 

When asked what they would change about their experience, the young interviewees noted that they would like to see an end to the removal from foster or residential care to Direct Provision. They called for a more flexible system that would take the individual needs of the young person into account. Additionally, all of those interviewed noted that there were large disparities in opportunities between young people based in Dublin and those based in smaller Irish towns - with those in Dublin having better access to their aftercare worker, support organisations, and educational opportunities.

A focus group attendee stated that being allowed to stay in foster care after 18 would be good for mental health and would encourage young people to move forward. They said that it was very stressful to leave their foster family as soon as they turned 18 stating that, “it was a very dark time in their life until everything was sorted out” (Mo).

A secondary issue that arose in focus groups with professionals and guardians was the issue of family reunification law in Ireland, which is restrictive and has time restraints which give little consideration to the complexity of family tracing (locating a family member.) Interviewees gave several examples of young people whose application for family reunification was rejected because they waited too long after they received status, or they applied slightly after they turned 18**. This whole process places a massive responsibility on the young person and can cause considerable anxiety.

Clarken concluded: “With this report, we want to shed light on the traumatic and sudden process of turning 18 as an unaccompanied minor in Ireland. You go to sleep a child in the eyes of the law, and the next morning you wake up an adult and find you are stripped of many of the supports and protections you experienced when you first arrived. The security these young people were afforded is suddenly toppled.

“Oxfam will be writing to the Minister for Children, the Ombudsman for Children and the Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Children seeking meetings to discuss the findings of the report and to explore how the issues raised can be addressed.”

Erin McKay, Oxfam’s European Migration Campaign Manager and researcher and author of the Irish report section, said: “European countries need to step up. They must simplify asylum processes, set up guardianship schemes, create professional training programmes for people engaging with refugee youth, and invest in transitionary social housing with wraparound supports to help young people navigate the extremely complex systems that they find themselves in.  

“The EU also has a part to play by introducing best practices for European countries to help young people seeking protection in Europe to navigate their transition to adulthood."

END

* Names have been changed to protect the identity of the young people who contributed to the research report.

**Under the 2015 Act, an unaccompanied minor is entitled to reunification with his or her parents and the parents’ children under the age of 18. Aged-out minor beneficiaries of international protection who submit applications for family reunification after turning 18 years old may face difficulties in making successful applications for family reunification as they are no longer treated as children at the time of application (Cosgrave and Thornton, 2015).

Notes to editors  

  • Read the report and the report summary for ‘Teach us for what is coming: the transition into adulthood of unaccompanied minors in Europe’ . Oxfam will be hosting an EU event outlining the findings of the report on 29 June 2021. Contact Jade in our EU office at jade.tenwick@oxfam.org in relation to the conference.
  • The organisations who contributed to this research are Oxfam, the Greek Council for Refugees, the Dutch Council for Refugees, and ACLI France. The research was conducted through interviews with refugees, frontline staff and researchers in France, Greece, the Netherlands, Ireland and Italy.
  • According to AIDA's 2020 report, in Ireland, of the 1,926 applicants for international protection, 30 were unaccompanied minors. Numbers, as of July 2020, showed that there were 59 unaccompanied minors in the care of Tusla, the Irish Child and Family agency. A study published in 2018 cited Afghanistan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Syria as their main countries of origin, with ages ranging from 13 to 17
  • In 2020 the Irish government also joined a ‘coalition of the willing’ of EU member states and committed to relocate 36 unaccompanied minors from the Aegean Islands. A Parliamentary Question put to Minister Simon Coveney on the 12 May 2021 stated that: ‘Ireland also has an existing commitment to accept 36 unaccompanied minors from Greece. Eight of these minors arrived in Ireland last June. Staff from the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, along with staff from Túsla and An Garda Síochána, will travel to Greece in the coming weeks to interview 25 unaccompanied minors and 50 people in family groups, with a view to arranging their relocation to Ireland’. Minister Roderic O’Gorman reconfirmed this in a later PQ on the 27 May 2021.
  • Oxfam Ireland has been advocating for the passing of the International Protection (Family Reunification)(Amendment) Bill 2017 to address failings in Ireland’s Family Reunification system
  • Looking at the practices of five European countries the report found that incoherent policies, sparsely available essential services like language classes and difficulties accessing information on their rights severely impacts on a young person's ability to fully integrate into their new society.
  • The authors of the report also highlight good practices that can bridge the gap between childhood and adulthood. One such example is transitionary housing programmes, which help young people get on their feet, and gain autonomy. In these programmes, children about to turn 18 can move into semi-autonomous apartments where they receive support to gain financial and personal independence. The report also finds that support systems – guardians and community-based programmes – can play a significant role in easing the transition. Specialised training to staff in contact with refugee youth to improve their understanding of the asylum system should also be developed.  
  • Actions at both an EU level and a national level are crucial to improving the transition process, to create a child-centred support system coordinating local and national competencies and to make a period of intense anxiety more manageable.  

Key recommendations:

  • Simplification of the administrative procedures   
  • Support to help young unaccompanied minors (UAMs) understand the bureaucratic system, management of finances and searching for accommodation. Both legal guardians and voluntary guardians play a fundamental role in helping the young person adjust and get on their feet  
  • Accessible professional training for actors engaging with refugee youth  
  • Transitionary social housing with support services for UAMs who turn 18  
  • Coordination mechanisms at local and national levels to foster effective communication and interaction  

What can the EU do? 

While this transition to adulthood falls mainly under the responsibility of EU countries, the European Commission has begun to address issues related to UAMs turning 18. These have focused on exchanging good practices, providing funding for integration projects, encouraging EU countries to facilitate access to education and training, strengthening guardianship systems as well as promoting national strategies to move away from a reception centre approach towards family and community-based care services with an adequate focus on preparing UAMs to leave care.  

While the EU funding can play a crucial role in identifying and promoting good practices, research and promotion is not enough. There is a need for a determined approach.

Our suggestion is three-fold:  

  • Use the new cycle of EU funding to address the issues highlighted in this research and implement key recommendations 
  • Promote and coordinate data collection on the transition to adulthood to ensure sustained commitment by all EU countries on their promise of employment and education for all young people 
  • Continued mainstreaming of UAMs specific issues into broader social policies and, most importantly, a Commission Guidance on the transition into adulthood taking a holistic approach on the needs, concerns and considerations in this complex process. 
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