Tralee Woman To Travel To Paris To Help Homeless Refugees

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Tralee woman, Catherine Tangney is travelling to Paris soon to help refugees.

A TRALEE woman who was affected by the plight of people in ‘The Jungle’ in Calais when she volunteered two years ago, is heading to Paris to help homeless refugees.

Catherine Tangney from Oakpark will travel to the French capital on August 15 where she plans providing aid to refugees. She also plans on bringing medical supplies with her, some of which she hopes will be donated by local people before she goes.

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Catherine, a nurse at University Hospital Kerry, travelled to Calais refugee camp in October 2015 to volunteer providing medical aid there.

Organised by two nurses from Cork, about 50 people from Ireland travelled in a group to the camp known as ‘The Jungle’, where they built shelters, helped clean up and treated about 1,000 people for a range of medical conditions.

“It was the hardest thing I ever done, but the best thing I ever done,” said Catherine, who was in college training to be a nurse at the time. “It was only when I returned after the six days that it hit me. There was a lot of respiratory problems, broken bones, injuries and mental health issues. Many of them just wanted someone to talk to.”

“Because of the terrorism incidents, the refugees are getting a horrible rap. It’s like any community, there will be bad eggs, but they’re all getting tarred with the same brush. We treated the sweetest people you will ever meet in Calais from all walks of life — doctors, dentists, engineers, architects, teachers — from Eritrea, Sudan and Syria.

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They’d bring you into their tent, offer you tea and whatever food they had. All they wanted to do was chat to you,” she said.

Catherine had to complete her college course so hasn’t returned since 2015, but jumped at the chance when a friend called her to say a group were going over again.

However, the Calais camp is gone now after the government went in and demolished it earlier this year.

This resulted in thousands heading to Paris where many went to a domed area set up by NGOs. However, it can take only a few hundred at a time and the rest sleep on the streets or under bridges.

Catherine is going over to work with an NGO on meal runs to these refugees, to sit and chat with them and treat them for minor health problems.

Catherine is hoping people can donate any of the following medical supplies; Antacids liquid, cough syrup, bonjela, skin cream, E45, deep heat, lice treatment, scabies treatment, vaseline, strepsils and throat lozenges.

You can also donate to Catherine’s gofundme page (click here) where she will use any funds to buy medical supplies while in Paris. To contact Catherine, email or call her on 087-9616173 if people want to donate supplies.

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