Tribute paid to Chernobyl Children International charity

Lord mayor of Cork to lead delegation to Ukraine for 30th anniversary of disaster

Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Chris O'Leary has paid tribute to the work of the Chernobyl Children International charity as he prepares to lead a delegation from the city to Chernobyl to mark the 30th anniversary of the nuclear explosion in the Ukraine early next month.

"Cork is rightly proud of the fantastic work that has been done by Chernobyl Children International since its foundation 25 years ago," said Cllr O'Leary who will accompanied by Cork City Council chief executive Ann Doherty and Irish Ambassador to Belarus David Nolan.

“It is an honour for me to be travelling to Chernobyl not only to witness this work, but also to pay tribute on behalf of the people of Cork to the charity and to the hundreds of volunteers whose generosity and kindness down the years has delivered €100 million in aid,” he added.

Cllr O'Leary paid tribute to Chernobyl Children International chief Adi Roche, who is also part of the delegation travelling to Chernobyl, noting that the charity has also helped almost 25,000 children affected by the explosion benefited from holidays in Ireland over the past 30 years.

The delegation will meet relatives of families who were directly affected by the radioactive fallout and visit abandoned ghost towns like Pripyat which once housed the families of the thousands of men and women who worked at the nearby Chernobyl Plant, said Cllr O’Leary.


Ms Roche – who will be visiting the Chernobyl exclusion zone for the 25th time – said it was particularly significant the Lord Mayor of Cork had chosen to lead the first official Irish delegation to Chernobyl given that the people of Cork were among of the first "responders" to the crisis 30 years ago.

“We hope that his presence will be a reminder of the threat Chernobyl still poses to the world and we are particularly pleased that he will have an opportunity to see the extraordinary work which Irish volunteers have been doing in regions affected by the Chernobyl accident,” she said.

“The Lord Mayor will also visit a smaller number of outlying villages in the zone to which some older people have illegally returned. They will hear how the lives of seven million people were affected by the accident which released 200 times more radioactivity than the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs.”

Ms Roche pointed out that the Irish Government has contributed €8 million towards the construction of a €1.5 billion steel and concrete shelter designed to prevent the damaged reactor leaking radioactivity and make it safe for the next 100 years.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times