By Ian Cameron firstname.lastname@example.org@dundalkdemocrat
Dundalk Rotary Club held a bicycle collection on Saturday, which benefits more than just the African children the bikes will ultimately be sent to.
This is the second time that the initative has taken place, the last time being in 2014. It is held regularly across Britain and Ireland.
Seamus McDermott of Dundalk Rotary Club explains: “It's a brilliant iniative. It's a win, win for all involved.
“The bikes are going to Gambia in Africa. They're for distribution to children to enable them to go to school.
“This is the second time we have done it.
“We got 130 the last time, and we hope to get 100 this Saturday” said Seamus speaking on Thursday of last week.
“Aura helped by using their database to contact parents in order to let people know that we are collecting the bikes.
“Once the bike is repairable and fit for children of six years and upwards then we want it. They can have parts missing but they have to be fixable. Clearly a bike that is eaten away by rust is not fixable.”
After collection at Aura the bikes they are loaded onto a truck courtesy of Frank McArdle and are brought to Warrenpoint, where they are put in a container with bikes from the Newry Rotary Club, from there are they are taken to Loughan Houseopen prison in Co. Cavan.
“They have a purpose built shop there where the inmates work on them and make them road worthy.
“From there they go to the Gambia.
“It's cost €12 per bike to send, but we take on that cost ourselves and are happy to do so.
“It's a wonderful project. The imports are low but the outcomes are huge.
“The children out in Gambia must be thrilled when they see this container of bikes coming.
“I believe education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty.”
“3,000 bikes are collected from the island of Ireland, compared to 7,000 across island of Britain, so we punch above our weight. It's also great for the lads who will get a certification for fixing bikes. It's win win.”