A group of lorry drivers are transporting more than €1 million worth of food, medical supplies and hygiene products on a four-day trip across Europe to Ukraine.
The convoy of six trucks left on the ferry from Rosslare to France on Monday night and will arrive at the Ukrainian border on Friday morning with the goods set to cross into the war-torn country.
The hauliers from counties Leitrim, Cavan, Laois and Dublin are carrying aid donated by their local communities with support from the Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA).
The group coordinated the collection of donated goods with the Ukrainian embassy in Dublin with food, medical supplies and first aid being the highest priority items required.
Dmytro Shchedrin, the first secretary at the embassy responsible for trade, met Eugene Drennan, president of the IRHA, and the hauliers travelling to the Ukrainian border on Monday prior to their departure on the direct ferry to Dunkirk in France.
“I feel a great empathy with the Ukrainian people who are suffering so greatly,” said Leitrim haulier Gerry McMorrow who is driving one of the six lorries.
“I thought, what can I do as a person to help these people. I said, I can get into this truck and get aid to the Ukrainian border. I realised there was a level of coordination needed.”
Mr McMorrow said he was overwhelmed by the generosity of the local communities in donating to the effort. He estimated he was carrying €200,000 worth of goods in his lorry.
“Every day this situation is getting worse and if everybody does what they can: From the child at school that puts a little box together to the person who can put a load of medical aid together, whatever is in your gift ... we make sure the aid is co-ordinated.”
Mr Drennan said there would be other Irish lorries heading over to the Ukrainian border and that there were a lot of lorry drivers from Poland and other eastern European countries who were "very keen to do something".
He said the association had a haulier in Ukraine that it could work with to find safe routes and get materials into the country.
Among the other haulage companies transporting aid are DG McArdle's, Campbell Carriers and Sligo Haulage.