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Text-Aid launched in Ireland

Leading mobile marketing specialist Puca launched a unique new initiative, Text-Aid, to help the disaster relief efforts underway in Myanmar (Burma) and China.

The fundraising campaign, which started at midnight on Thursday 22 May, will run for two weeks.

Ireland’s five million mobile users can now make an instant donation by sending the keyword AID to the SMS short code 57500. Texts cost €2.50.

“The mobile phone is an incredibly powerful medium for instant response”, says Eamon Hession, CEO of Púca. “Making a donation is literally as easy as sending a text message. Irish people are amongst the heaviest users of SMS texting in the world. 

We’ve all seen the upsetting pictures over the past two weeks from Myanmar and from China – the scale of the tragedy unfolding is difficult to even comprehend. We want to harness the goodwill of the Irish public to respond as quickly and effectively as possible to provide whatever help we can to the victims of these disasters. What better way than with our mobile phones?”

The proceeds will be distributed in full amongst Concern, the Irish Red Cross, Oxfam Ireland and Trocaire.

The funds raised from Test-Aid will go towards relief work in China and Myanmar. Concern’s fundraising efforts, however, are focusing on Myanmar. Caroline Hickson, Concern’s Director of Public Affairs, said “Concern's partners in Myanmar are right now providing life saving supplies for more than 60,000 survivors of Cyclone Nargis. Disasters are a time when we all must pull together, and we are so grateful to Ireland's mobile phone industry for pooling their efforts to raise vitally needed funds”

All the parties involved in Text-Aid are waiving their fees in running the service. Each of the mobile operators have agreed to donate 100% of their revenues from the premium rate short code revenues to TXT-AID.  Púca is also waiving all of its revenue and fees in managing the service. Industry regulator Regtel has agreed to forego its standard levy on premium rate SMS messages and the Revenue Commissioners have confirmed that no VAT will be payable from the €2.50 charge. Therefore all of the proceeds of each premium SMS message will be donated to the participating charities.

The initiative is being supported by Ireland’s four mobile network operators Vodafone, O2, Meteor and 3.