Charity back on road after robbery

A lorry with donations destined for Chernobyl was broken into in Kilkenny.

A children’s charity has thanked the public for its “overwhelming” support after a lorry containing around €140,000 worth of donations was trashed.

The lorry, being used by Chernobyl Children International (CCI), was parked in Hebron Industrial Estate, Kilkenny, waiting to be serviced when the attack took place. Thousands of euro worth of toys, clothes and shoes, bound for needy children in Chernobyl, were damaged beyond repair, and upwards of 10,000 nappies were taken.

A man in his 20s was arrested and charged after the incident, and is due to appear in court next month.

Jim Kavanagh, from CCI, said they still plan to travel despite the setback.

“The gardaí have been great and they even recovered some of the nappies. The amount of help that has arrived at my house is incredible. We received a few hundred nappies from a nursing home in Ennis and people have been helping to sort out the broken items and to repack the boxes with things that can still be shipped out.

“We have the majority of the contents back in order. A significant amount of work went into it.

“For customs procedures in Belarus, each box has to have certain information. So it took a lot of time to do all that.”

The cargo is destined for Petrokov in Belarus, which has seen a large influx of Ukrainian refugees, fleeing the conflict with Russia.

For the last 20 years, the Kilkenny branch of CCI has been bringing much-needed donations from Ireland. Children from Belarus have also been visiting Ireland to give them a break from contaminated zones.

Despite the setback, the charity is looking forward to the journey on Sunday, and plans are already underway for their biggest fundraiser of the year — an annual cycle on the June bank holiday weekend.

“We’re always looking for cyclists to take part. We cycle from Kilkenny to Dungarvan, stay the night, and cycle back the next day.”

For more information, go to facebook.com/Chernobyl.Kilkenny or @ChernobylKK on Twitter. To donate, search for Chernobyl Children International, Chernobyl Kilkenny Outreach Group on idonate.ie.

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