Chernobyl’s special forces visit Curragh

BOYS and girls of all ages like toys, but getting to grips with the army’s batch is as good as it gets.

And yesterday, eight Chernobyl children aged between nine and 12 joined in the fun.

This was the second annual visit of seriously ill children from eastern Europe to the Kildare military base for a display of weapons and equipment by the Defence Forces.

“It’s great the Defence Forces can assist the Chernobyl Children’s Project and we will continue to do so,” said Commandant Brian Cleary.

“It’s gratifying to see the smiles on the kids’ faces. It’s good for us as well,” he said.

Since its foundation by Adi Roche in 1991, the Cork-based charity has brought more than 10,000 children to Ireland on recuperative holidays from the area blighted by the 1986 nuclear disaster.

The eight youngsters flew from Belarus to Shannon Airport last Friday and were brought to The Curragh’s Connolly Barracks training centre.

Members of the Clonmel and Kildare Civil Defence units laid on the transport for the visitors, as they have done down the years.

Over a packed weekend, volunteer workers took them to see some of Co Kildare’s top attractions, including the Japanese Gardens and the National Stud.

The Chernobyl children are now off to Barrettstown Camp, the holiday venue set up by movie star Paul Newman for seriously ill children, until June 18.

Emmett Coffey of Chernobyl Children’s Project said the youngsters would then be treated to a further week’s holiday courtesy of the project’s Kildare outreach group.

They will then return home to Belarus.

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