Farm families across four counties have pooled their efforts and donated 18 jeeps, an ambulance, 32 generators, thermal clothing and emergency medical supplies which the will deliver to families in need in war-torn Ukraine this weekend.

The humanitarian mission involves dozens of dairy, tillage and dry stock farm families across Tirlán Co-op’s West Waterford, South Tipperary, East Cork and North Wexford local advisory committees.

It is being spearheaded by Paddy O’Donnell from Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, with support from long-time friend, Joe Harty from An Rinn in Waterford and their extended network in the farmer-owned co-op.

Both have had Ukrainian men working on their farms over the years and while they have always maintained contact with them when they returned home, that contact has been even more regular since war broke out and the need for humanitarian support increased.

“These men didn’t just work with us, they ate with us, they stayed in our homes and they became part of the extended family,” Joe Harty explained as the group gathered before leaving for the ferry.

“Paddy O’Donnell got in touch with me a few months back when he got a request for aid from friends in Ukraine.

“He went out in a donated Landrover Freelander jeep in October with two other dairy farmers, Jack Walshe from Kilmacthomas in Waterford and Bill Stokes from Kilsheelan in Tipperary to suss things out, make sure donations which were being made via the Ukrainian army were going to worthy causes. It all checked out.

“We got word before Christmas that they needed jeeps. Then they asked for generators and more recently, we got a call asking for thermal clothing and any medical supplies as the winter was kicking in and power supply was unreliable,” Joe added.

Darach Powell from Clonmel and Roger O’Byrne from Kilmacthomas who will drive the ambulance to Ukraine. Image: Mary Browne

Donations for Ukraine

The team started off with six generators and the campaign has grown significantly since.

A generator fund was set up through the Tirlán branch in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, and family farm suppliers have donated €20,000 to date, which has been used to purchase some generators and vehicles. Others were donated.

“We didn’t want to be handling money so the account was set up through Tirlán and they managed it and they got generators for us at a great price,” Paddy explained.

“We’re particularly thankful to Barry Power and the team in Dungarvan for managing and overseeing everything. Other generators were donated. Jeep donations flooded in. With some of the money left over, we also bought an ambulance.

“This has been a huge team effort involving tillage, drystock and dairy farmers. Some of these families bought jeeps out of their own pockets or did up surplus vehicles which were then donated.

“Word went out in our discussion groups and farmers were not found wanting. It’s been a good year for farm prices and everyone was very keen to give something back,” Paddy added.

Michael Dunne from Carrick On Suir, one of the drivers travelling to Ukraine. Image: Mary Browne


The duo are among up to 40 volunteers who drove in convoy and brought the vehicles and supplies by ferry to Cherbourg earlier this week.

They are now travelling through France, Germany, Austria, Hungary and Slovakia before reaching the border with Ukraine this weekend.

There they will meet trusted and established contacts in the Ukrainian army who will distribute the donations on the ground to those most in need. All the farmers and volunteers fly home at their own expense later this weekend.

“We are most thankful to all the companies, all the farm families and all of the individuals who have been so generous. All of us involved in delivering this aid are paying our own way and making our own way home at our own cost so absolutely everything donated goes to those most in need,” Joe Harty concluded.