HomeNewsLimerick farmer helps Romanian families

Limerick farmer helps Romanian families

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Aoife Blackwell, Cappamore says goodbye to the heifers her family donated to Bóthar to help impoverished Romanian farmers. Pic: Sean Curtin Photo.
Aoife Blackwell, Cappamore says goodbye to the heifers her family donated to Bóthar to help impoverished Romanian farmers. Pic: Sean Curtin Photo.

A COUNTY Limerick farmer is among those helping to improve the lives of 70 poverty-stricken families in Romania thanks to his donation of an in-calf heifer.

Well-known Cappamore farmer Shane Blackwell was one of a group of farmers who delivered Holstein Friesian heifers to Roscrea Mart this week, before the cattle were airlifted from Shannon Airport by the charity Bóthar.

In all, 70 in-calf heifers were airlifted in the early hours of Sunday morning to Romania from Shannon, a consignment with an estimated value of over €100,000.

Mr Blackwell said: “Donating a heifer to Bóthar doesn’t really affect us financially a huge amount but it gives tremendous benefit to someone else. There’s a great tradition in the farming community in Ireland of helping out your neighbour but in this instance, the neighbour we are helping is just that bit further away.”

The farmers were met at Roscrea Mart by Bóthar CEO Deirdre M Ryan and Pierre Ferrari, CEO of US charity Heifer International, which counts Bill Clinton, Ellen de Generes and Meryl Streep among its supporters.

Heifer International, which has been partnering with Bóthar since the Irish charity was founded 23 years ago, funded the cost of airlifting the animals.

Mr Ferrari paid tribute to Irish farmers and the Irish people for their “incredible sense of giving” during the economic downturn.

“In the middle of what I hope will be the worst times that this generation of Irish people today will know, you have remained one of the top nations in the world in terms of giving. Last year’s World Giving index placed Ireland first in Europe and fifth in the world.”

Mr Ferrari said that the quality of the milk produced by the Irish Friesian Holstein heifers is “so fantastic that it’s a gift beyond the recipient family’s dreams”.

Ms Ryan said: “This will change the lives of these Romanian families. It will lift these people from poverty and the best way I can describe it is that it would be the equivalent to us being handed over the keys to a successful business.”

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