30 October 2020
By Tom Collins
Cobh development to provide a safe, supportive and secure environment for Defence Forces Veterans going through difficult times
The Organisation of National Ex-Service Personnel (Óglaigh Náisiúnta na hÉireann), otherwise known as ONE, has announced the launch of its latest hostel on 8 Harbour Row, Cobh, Co Cork.
The organisation has worked closely with the Office of Public Works over the past year to procure a long-term lease on a former social welfare office in Cobh. The new development will provide a safe and secure five en-suite bedroom hostel alongside a veteran support centre. Cobh locals have welcomed the move as they continue to support ONE, with ongoing local fundraising initiatives taking place including the annual Fuchsia Appeal which has been postponed to March 2021 due to COVID-19.
A similar facility in Cork City Centre (30 minutes drive from Cobh) with six bedrooms is being considered, leading to the availability of sixty single bedrooms for homeless veterans countrywide.
ONE is a registered charity for veterans of the Defence Forces. It provides hostel accommodation for homeless veterans together with support centres and lobbying on behalf of veterans of the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps. ONE has hostel facilities nationwide, including: Brú na bhFiann, Smithfield, Dublin; Beechwood House, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal; and Custume House, Athlone, Co. Westmeath. Over 900 veterans have benefitted from ONE’s homeless hostels to date.
The launch comes as welcome news to the Cork community which is home to Collins Barracks and the Haulbowline Naval Base. Although the majority of veterans are successful in their new careers post-retirement, some require help from time to time. With at least three members of the Defence Forces dying while sleeping rough, ONE aims to help many of those suffering from depression, disabilities and PTSD which quite often lead to a breakdown in relationships and family ties. With little to no support currently available to those who have served the State, the group aims to help those who are struggling.
ONE provides just under eighteen thousand bed nights in its hostels to veterans of the Defence Forces each year, with 95% of those helped moving on to permanent housing, and also has 15 Veteran Support Centres nationwide.
Fundraising for the ONE Cobh project is ongoing and the organisation acknowledges the support received from the Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien and the Department of Housing, Cork City Council, and Cork County Council, the Department of Defence via the Dormant Accounts Fund, the Defence Forces Benevolent Fund, Leopardstown Park Hospital Trust, International Police Association Cycling Club and the ESB’s Energy for Generations Funds.
ONE says its funding efforts have understandably been heavily impacted by COVID-19 but that donations to the ONE Development Fund can be made via its website.
Speaking about the launch of the new hostel in Cork and ONE’s ambitions, The Organisation of National Ex-Service Personnel, Ollie O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer said:
“Cobh has a strong heritage of military service, so we are delighted to announce the launch of the new Cobh development, the first veteran hostel in Munster. The new facility will directly enable ONE to provide Ireland’s homeless veterans with a safe, secure and supportive space, warm meals, camaraderie, and care, for as long as they need it. 95% of the veterans helped by ONE escape the cycle of homelessness and move on to permanent housing and this is a key motivation behind the work we do. The work of ONE can be summarised in four words – Support, Comradeship, Advocacy, & Remembrance.”
For further information on ONE visit one-veterans.org