Concern for Cork charity as embargo hits Russian hospice

Fiona Corcoran’s charity, the Greater Chernobyl Cause, had saved a hospice at Ivanskoye in Kostroma Oblast a number of years ago
Concern for Cork charity as embargo hits Russian hospice

Fiona Corcoran pictured in Chernobyl during her many visits to the region

THE founder of a Cork charity has voiced grave concern that EU sanctions on Russia could leave vulnerable patients in the hospice she supports homeless and alone.

Fiona Corcoran’s charity, the Greater Chernobyl Cause, had saved a hospice at Ivanskoye in Kostroma Oblast a number of years ago.

Prior to the charity’s intervention, the hospice had been closed down.

Ms Corcoran said that recent sanctions introduced on Russia mean that the charity could no longer transfer money to the hospice facility.

The charity founder said she was seriously concerned about what the sanctions would mean for people in the hospice and for vulnerable people in Russia.

“I understand why sanctions are in place and am OK with seeing oligarchs having their assets frozen or bank accounts suspended,” she said.

“I am OK with multibillionaires having their mega yachts seized whether it be in Italy, France, or wherever they have their property. However, it’s the ordinary people in centres like ours who are suffering.”

The hospice had been closed down by the government before the charity stepped in.

“When we found it, it was rat-infested and people were being served what looked like gruel for their meals every day. The beds were rusty and had thin mattresses.

“Now we are in a position where we can’t transfer money because legally this is not allowed.

“These are people who are in the winter of their lives and without interventions. They realise that the Irish people are the backbone of this service.

“It’s summer now but when the winter sets in I wonder how they are going to survive.”

She admitted to feeling helpless.

“We are heartbroken for the future and constantly wondering if these people will be left homeless again,” Ms Corcoran said.

“We are having sleepless nights because the patients there are like our family. The sad thing is we have to deny them now and through no fault of our own.”

Ms Corcoran said measures were needed to support vulnerable people.

“We abhor and are outraged by Putin’s actions,” she said. “To think our Ukrainian brothers and sisters are being massacred is beyond devastating.

“However, there needs to be some leeway to protect the innocent and vulnerable. We can’t allow this hospice to close. There has to be a way around this. If we transfer money then we break the law and that’s so heartbreaking to know.”

Ms Corcoran was inspired to establish the Greater Chernobyl Cause after volunteering to work with a group of children at the Mercy Hospital in the wake of the disastrous explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine in 1986. She later expanded the services to focus on the human casualties of the break-up of the former Soviet Union.

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