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16th May 2020

There’s a group of volunteers sewing free face masks for frontline workers in Ireland

Anna Daly

face masks

It’s the type of community kindness that just warms your heart.

Face mask shortages have been a huge problem around the world in 2020.

People have been stocking up on them and using up the limited supply which has left hospitals running low. Governments have been back and forth about whether to recommend general use of masks and risk creating even more of a shortage of surgical masks in hospitals or to advise against the use of masks and risk causing a wider spread of the virus in the among the general public.

In Ireland, Mary Murphy decided to find a solution to the problem and set up Masks 4 All Ireland. When Mary realised that there was going to be a shortage of face masks due to Covid-19 she created a Facebook group appealing to people across Ireland to help her in her attempt to combat the problem.

Her goal was to provide masks free of charge to anyone working on the frontline in Ireland, thus giving protection to the most exposed and making sure the hospitals wouldn’t run out of surgical masks. She asked people to volunteer their time by sewing face masks or to donate materials or money to finance the project.

Mary developed a prototype for the mask that has been billed as one of the safest face masks. Mary spoke about the importance of a mask that gives full protection:

“As there is a shortage of surgical face masks, you can’t underestimate the importance of making masks that are as safe as a cloth mask can possibly be, as they need to fit perfectly over the nose and face with, for example, elastic straps around the head and not ears, so there are no gaps.

“This design, using cotton material with space for a filter, can offer safety to staff and patients in the absence of surgical masks and can be reused and boiled. They are designed for the best filtration possible and for longevity as they are such a limited resource.

“It is concerning that many face masks don’t completely fit the face, and that hospital staff are unable to use face masks unless they are surgical masks which are in very short supply.”

So far, Masks 4 All Ireland has recruited 690 sewists volunteering their time to the cause and has created an amazing total of 36,050 masks. Keeping in mind that these masks can be washed and used at least 30 times, so that’s the equivalent of 1,081,500 surgical masks.

We think that’s insanely impressive.

If you want to help out with this amazing cause, you can sign up to become a sewist by joining the Facebook group here – their aim is to set up little subgroups for each county. Alternatively, you can donate to their GoFundMe page here.

For more information on this amazing initiative, visit the Masks 4 All Ireland website to learn more.