7 February 2019

Pope’s Skoda donated to Foyle Search and Rescue

The Skoda Rapid that was used by Pope Francis during his visit to Ireland last August has been donated to Foyle Search and Rescue, writes Trish Whelan.

The charity was chosen by Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin and was selected for their work on suicide prevention and family support networks offered in the city of Derry.

The vehicle was used by His Holiness on day two of his visit to Knock. Originally registered in the Republic of Ireland, the Rapid had the registration number 182-D-2018 reserved to commemorate the papal visit. Now registered in Northern Ireland, the original plates take pride of place at John Mulholland Motors in Campsie, Co Derry. John Mulholland was fundamental in ensuring Pope Francis was transported in a Skoda during his visit to Ireland.

Foyle Search and Rescue was set up in 1993 by local people in Derry in response to the high number of drownings in the River Foyle. The Rapid will be used as a patrol vehicle during the identified peak times of need and will assist the team in their daily tasks and operations. 

Stephen Twells, chairman of Foyle Search and Rescue said he was speechless when he heard the good news. “Pope Francis’ car will provide a moral boost to our volunteers at this time, during what has been a very tough year for all of us in the city. This gift will be a great comfort to many families here in Derry knowing that we have been recognised by the Holy Father, and by Archbishop Martin, for the work that we do.”

Skoda Ireland wish Foyle Search and Rescue well with their great work. 

Stephen Twells (Chairman, Foyle Search & Rescue), Christina McKeegan (Project Co-ordinator, Foyle Search & Rescue), John Mulholland of John Mulholland Motors, Fr Tim Bartlett (World Meeting of Families) are all pictured at the handover above.