Lorry set to carry donations to Belarus broken into in Kilkenny

Chernobyl charity volunteer says robbery and damage of goods ‘soul destroying’

A file photograph of a group of children from Belarus arriving at Dublin airport to spend Christmas with Chernobyl Children International host families. Photograph: Eric Luke

A file photograph of a group of children from Belarus arriving at Dublin airport to spend Christmas with Chernobyl Children International host families. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

The driver of a lorry bound for Belarus which was broken into in Kilkenny on Monday has described the robbery and damage to planned donations as “soul destroying”.

Jim Kavanagh, the founder of the volunteer outreach group of Chernobyl Children International, said around 10,000 nappies were stolen while other items due for donation - including shoes, clothes, toiletries and toys - were damaged or destroyed when the trailer was broken into shortly after lunchtime.

Mr Kavanagh said the trailer was clearly marked with Chernobyl Children International branding.

He said the goods, worth an estimated €130,000 to €140,000 had been donated by “ordinary people from all over the country” over a period of months.

Mr Kavanagh said it was hard to quantify how much was stolen or damaged in the incident as volunteers were still assessing the damage.

However, he said “an army” of people were on hand to repack and relabel the remaining cargo which will depart for Belarus as planned on Sunday.

A spokesman for the Garda press office said gardaí had arrested man in early twenties shortly after the incident which occurred Hebron Park Industrial Estabe off Hebron Road in Kilkenny.

He said the individual was detained for a time at Kilkenny Garda Station under section 4 of Criminal Justice Act but was later released on bail and is due to appear before Kilkenny District Court on April 14th next.

Mr Kavanagh, who was the recipient of the Charity Hero of the Year award in 2014 having been nominated for the award by the chief executive of Chernobyl Children International, Adi Roche, said he makes the 6,000 mile round-trip to Belarus around twice a year having first visited the Vesnova Children’s Mental Asylum 14 years ago.