Chernobyl liquidator Andrei Luchenko with Fiona Corcoran.

Friday service will highlight horrors in Ukraine

The sacrifice of victims of the nuclear disaster and the war in Ukraine will be remembered at 12 noon this Friday in Cork’s Fitzgerald’s Park at a Chernobyl commemorative service.

On 26 April annually, the Greater Chernobyl Cause remembers and commemorates those who have suffered as a result of the Chernobyl disaster near Pripyat.

Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Colette Finn will open the ceremony, which will also be attended by the Ambassador of Ukraine to Ireland Larysa Gerasko.

The Cork and Ukranian community will join together in poetry, music, song and prayer.

Goggin’s Hill National School will sing the Ukrainian national anthem, in solidarity with those Ukrainian children, who up to two years ago, had homes, security and normal lives.

The Greater Chernobyl Cause has uncovered new horrors that have befallen many survivors.

In the village of Prybirsk close to the exclusion zone, 30 residents, many of them still suffering from radiation sickness, were trapped for weeks by Russian soldiers inside their so-called ‘nursing home’ without proper food, water or heating.

As the war in Ukraine rages on, the Russians may have moved elsewhere but have left total devastation in their wake.

Prybirsk lies in the Ivankiv region which was totally disconnected from the water supply and electricity. Two villages were completely wiped off the face of the earth by numerous air strikes and the area’s hospital staff describe their every day work as ‘the victory of life over death’.

The founder of the Greater Chernoby Cause, Fiona Corcoran, said she was “shocked to the core” to see the utter devastation for herself and insists her charity is determined to transform Prybirsk’s care home into a place that brings new hope and dignity for the elderly.

“Many of them lost family members in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster. Two of the residents were amongst the first liquidators, sacrificing themselves in their efforts to extinguish the flames that erupted from the reactor. The consequences were huge; they suffer from organ dysfunctions and are in constant pain - long term victims of radiation sickness.

“We have already started transforming this place into a real care home, bringing proper beds, clothes, food and power banks. The real priority is the purchase of an ambulance that can transport them to the capital Kiev where they can get the highly specialised treatment they require,” she said.

“Radiation levels have increased again after Russian soldiers drove their armoured vehicles through a highly toxic zone, kicking up clouds of radioactive dust. For the residents, it’s been one horror after another. For humanity’s sake, they desperately need help now. Tomorrow will be too late,” Fiona added.

The Greater Chernobyl Cause plays a leading role in the supply of humanitarian aid right across the country with its director insisting that “the empathy and love of the Irish is clearly evident as we stand with Ukraine in their time of need”.

Donations online to or send what you can to The Greater Chernobyl Cause Unit 2, Southside Industrial Estate Pouladuff Road, Cork T12AW08 Ireland.