A MOVING ceremony to mark the 36th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster took place in Cork city earlier this week.
The ceremony, organised by the Greater Chernobyl Cause, took place in Bishop Lucey Park to commemorate the worst nuclear disaster the world has ever experienced.
Fianna Fáil councillor, Fergal Dennehy deputised for the Lord Mayor at the event which was also attended by other Cork city councillors, clergy members, Ukrainian nationals and Corkonians.
The Chernobyl commemorative service featured music, poetry and prayer and the Ukrainian national anthem was performed by children from Goggins Hill National School.
Speaking to The Echo, Cllr Fergal Dennehy said he was particularly moved by this aspect of the commemorative event which took place against the backdrop of the ongoing war in Ukraine.
“It was special to see the children here today because I was a child back in 1986 when the initial disaster happened and it’s like history is repeating itself only back then reactor number four was an accident, today it is deliberate. It is callous, it is murder, dressed up as war,” he said.
In an address to the assembled crowd at yesterday’s event, Green Party councillor Dan Boyle said the ongoing war in Ukraine could result in another such nuclear disaster and that every effort must be made to put a stop to it.
“Not only are the Ukrainian people living with a crisis in relation to their own state of being, their own right to existence, their own right to live, because of the containment in Chernobyl itself, because of other nuclear stations, we are all threatened by what might happen and the emergence of a new Chernobyl.
“It gives us pause for thought but it also gives us an added willingness to make sure that the situation that pertains is something that we must make every effort to bring to an end,” he said.
Meanwhile, Barbara Deasy, a teacher at Goggins Hill National School and a volunteer with the Greater Chernobyl Cause for 25 years, described the looming threat of a nuclear war as “devastating”.
Thirty-six years on, Ms Deasy said millions of people are still grappling with the effects of radiation and the ramifications of the disaster are still unfolding.
Greater Chernobyl Cause has worked in Ukraine for more than 25 years, assisting the poor and the ill, funding the construction of orphanages, care centres and hospices.
The charity continues to send aid to Ukraine with the next shipment going out on Thursday in coordination with the Cork Life Centre.