19 Aug 2022

'It would be so wrong not to' Portlaoise trucker family to do Ukraine convoy

'It would be so wrong not to' Portlaoise trucker family to do Ukraine convoy

Mark Martley at the wheel. Picture: Alf Harvey,

Portlaoise is uniting to fill three huge trucks that will be driven by a father and two sons directly to help Ukraine refugees fleeing the Russian invasion.

Mark, Aaron and Cathal Martley of Martley's Transport have put out a town wide appeal to help fill 100 pallets with goods that they will drive across Europe leaving on March 17 St Patrick's Day.

Secondary and primary schools, creches and businesses are hosting collections and fundraisers to buy the items as requested by staff working on the ground in the distribution centres. 

Mark said it is a goods collection only, and the family will wrap up the goods on pallets, pay for their own truck diesel, ferry crossings and food on their quest. 

"We will be going directly to distribution depots and refugee camps. If needs be we can go directly into Ukraine because there is a camp just over the border. 

"It was not a hard decision to make. We go to Poland all the time so it's a normal day's work. We have a way of doing it, it would be so wrong not to. I just can't look at what's happening every time I turn on the tv," he said.

The town is giving a great response he said.

"The whole town is involved. I really feel the people of Portlaoise are so generous and want to get involved, but when people give cash they don't know where it will go. This will all go straight to where it's needed. 

"I'm not the only Irish haulier doing this. 25 guys went yesterday, eleven of them in the same group as us, all good friends," Mark said.

Schools that are hosting deliveries of items are Scoil Chríost Rí, St Mary's CBS, Dunamase College, Holy Family Schools, Gaelscoil Phort Laoise and Portlaoise Educate Together. Creches include Maples Creche and Kilminchy Schoolhouse.

The Polish speakers in the schools will be a huge help in translating the list of items in each pallet so workers in the distribution centre can read them. 

"Personalised messages would be great too. We need everything itemised. Hughes Pharmacy were straight on board when we asked them. If any business wants to load a pallet that will be great," Mark Martley said.

Donations will be accepted at the drop off points until Tuesday evening March 15.

Bed sheets, Cleaning wipes, Batteries, USB cables/chargers/power banks charged if possible. Torches/flashlights, Elastic bands
Disposable knives, forks, plates, cups, Washing power small boxes.

Milton tablets or equivalent, Nappies / Anti-septic cream, Baby wipes / Vaseline, Sudocream, Baby Food, Dry baby biscuits,, Children’s clothes, Underpants boys & girls,, Socks / gloves, Small toys, Colouring books & Pencils.

Sanitary products, Wipes, Women’s underwear (new), Shampoo / Soap, Toothpaste/ toothbrushes, Hairbrushes

Noodles, Pasta, lentils, Stock cubes, dehydrated vegetables, Tinned foods, Meat, tuna,Tinned soup.

Paracetamol, Ibuprofen or any equivalent, Injury dressings, bandaged, Medical gowns, gloves, masks.

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