Ireland’s Call Initiative to conclude following repatriation of 67 healthcare workers

Operations will conclude following arrival of 21 nurses stranded in the Philippines

The Ireland’s Call Initiative, a philanthropic enterprise set up to bring doctors and nurses home from abroad, today confirmed it will conclude its operations following the repatriation of 67 healthcare workers from around the globe.

Operations will conclude following the arrival of a further 21 nurses on Wednesday, who had been stranded in the Philippines for weeks.

The initiative, which started at the end of March, provided logistical and financial support to 67 healthcare workers across the globe to get back to Ireland and help in the fight against Covid-19.

Medics have returned from countries around the globe including Canada, Pakistan, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand Malaysia, Nigeria, India, USA and the UK. The medics have since resumed frontline positions around the country.


Among the first to be repatriated by Ireland’s Call was Dr Marianne Hennigan, who told The Irish Times last month she was “delighted to be home” from Perth and “particularly happy” to see her mum.

“It is just a relief to be coming home for the foreseeable future and that I won’t be stuck . . . at this time you want to be in proximity with your family and around Irish people,” she said.

A total of 154 flights were covered and accommodation in self-isolation for a fortnight was paid for to enable the healthcare workers to return. The flights were funded through a Go Fund Me page which raised €85,184 as well as through a private donation of €7,320. The initiative has said it will donate the surplus of €893.50 to “an appropriate charity which aligns with ICI’s values”.

Housing was sourced through the initiative for 43 medics to self-isolate effectively for 14 days. Accommodation varied from hotel rooms to commercial rental and privately-owned properties. Some members of the public offered their vacant properties to healthcare workers across the country and Maynooth University offered 20 of its rooms for this purpose.

Co-founder of the initiative, Neil Sands, said he was “incredibly proud” of what it had achieved.

“It has been an honour to help Ireland’s frontline heroes,” he added.

Mr Sands is now working to establish a private social enterprise called Measc, aiming to import mask manufacturing machinery to Ireland and produce medical-grade facemasks domestically for the Irish public and frontline.