From left – Daniel Drum, Micheál Coyne, Thomas Drum, Tikhon Saprykina, Ukrainian refugee living with the Revingtons, David Drum and Andrew Revington.

Metsola sends thanks to Delvin IFA

“Christmas is all about giving and sharing and Delvin has certainly done that this week.”

The IFA Delvin branch received a special thank you message from European Parliament president, Roberta Metsola, last week following their generous donation to the people of Ukraine.

Thirty-five years of accumulated funds were spent on four large generators that will be used to run schools, hospitals and community centres across the war-torn country.

Mrs Metsola addressed the group and said: “The members of the Delvin IFA have shown tremendous generosity, solidarity and compassion.

“Because of Russia’s unrelenting attacks, more than half of Ukraine’s electricity network have been damaged leaving millions without electricity, in darkness and in the cold.

“I applauded your contribution to answer the European Parliament’s call for ‘Generators of Hope’, thank you.”

This inspiring act was the brainchild of Andrew Revington, treasurer of IFA Delvin.

In early May, Andrew opened his home to two Ukrainian families fleeing the war and so has a sense of what is happening on the ground in the country.

He said: “We have personal connections to Ukraine because of the families that are staying with us on the farm.

“There was money sitting in the IFA accounts for donkey’s years and about 15 years ago I was one of the people trying to decide what to do with it.

“We never came up with something that we were all happy to spend the money on, and so it was only when I came in contact with these families did I start to think about the money again.

“The idea was discussed in November at our AGM and it was a unanimous decision that the money should go to this great cause.”

The funds from Delvin IFA amounted to almost €17,000 but to get the generators over the line and to Ukrainian soil, more money was needed.

Andrew said: “We needed more funding because when we collected the four generators, it came to a total of €21,000 so we were slightly short.

“In the space of 20 minutes, we were able to raise another €4,000 within our own membership and by people who wanted to give a little bit more.

“That’s something that we can be very proud of. The local people of Delvin could give €4,000 in literally 20 minutes just to get that last generator picked up and delivered.

“It’s a great honour to be a part of something like this.

“On this project, there was a huge understanding between farmers on how difficult it must be in Ukraine at the moment with electricity being cut off and them not having running water.

“We understand that those things are important to us on the farm and without them, life can be extremely difficult.

“Maybe we hit everyone on a brilliant week when everything had frozen tight around their own farmyards but the generosity was fantastic.”

Christmas holidays and Ireland’s cold snap have delayed the transport of the four generators but they are on schedule to be shipped in the coming weeks.

They will heat schools, run hospital equipment and help the Ukrainian people through the harsh winter.

Delvin IFA are hoping to keep in touch with the people who benefit from the generators.

In a letter stuck to each of the generators, the members explained where they came from and requested that the people using them would send back photos and videos of them in use.

The chairperson of Delvin IFA, David Drumm, told the Westmeath Examiner: “We want to show people the benefits of these generators and also to encourage other Irish and European communities to do something similar.

“We hope that other organisations will take the baton and get inspiration from what the farmers here in Delvin have done.

“We’re proud of our members but particularly, we’re proud of the past members of IFA Delvin because without them, this wouldn’t have been possible.

“They had the foresight to invest money in FBD shares and only through them have we been able to do something extremely positive.

“We had the privilege of spending the money that they put into the group. This puts Delvin on the map for all the right reasons and hopefully we can inspire people in other parts of Ireland and Europe to club together and do the right thing.”

(Colm Markey MEP contacted the office of Roberta Metsola about the Delvin IFA project, and she sent the video in response.)