Adi Roche and Ali Hewson have been presented with a global humanitarian award.
Ms Roche and Ms Hewson were last night honoured with the 2015 Princess Grace Humanitarian Award in recognition of their incredible achievement in helping Chernobyl Children International (CCI) raise over €100 million.
"There is a calling for us all in life but some just hear that more than others. Adi Roche and Ali Hewson are clearly among those and their response to that call has given hope where there was none," said HSH Prince Albert II. "I know that their calling is as strong as ever and the need likewise. I wish them every encouragement and success going forward."
Prince Albert’s attendance at the event had to be cancelled at the last minute due to severe electrical storms that struck the Riviera. The awards were presented in his absence jointly by President of the Ireland Fund of Monaco, Olivia Gaynor-Long, and Bono, who read the Prince’s speech to the capacity crowd at the venue.
"We are eternally grateful to the Ireland Fund of Monaco, to Prince Albert and to so many people who have supported us here tonight," said Adi Roche.
"We accept the award in the name of the Children of Chernobyl who are so often forgotten and relegated to history but who are still very much a part of the unfolding tragedy that is Chernobyl.”
Ali Hewson added: “We are immensely proud to receive this award but Adi and I know that it belongs to the Irish volunteers and supporters of CCI over the three decades since the accident. All that CCI has achieved is due to their dedication”.
A message from President Michael D. Higgins was read out at the event.
"This is a well-deserved accolade, honouring their great dedication to the children of Chernobyl," he said. "Chernobyl Children International was founded on a deep spirit of generosity, recognising the common humanity which binds us all.
"It has enabled the citizens of Ireland to reach out for many years in solidarity and support with those in our international community whose lives and futures were so drastically changed by the nuclear accident in Chernobyl on 26th April 1996.
“The commitment and hard work of Adi and Ali has ensured that the people of Ireland have never forgotten the children of Chernobyl.”
Kieran McLoughlin, President and CEO of The Worldwide Ireland Funds, said: "Amidst the tragedy of Chernobyl, Ali and Adi’s work shines.
"Through their courage and tenacity, they rescued thousands of children and have given them safe and secure lives. From what could have been a desolate childhood, these children now have the chance to forge brighter futures.
"We are very much aware that the work must continue and at the Worldwide Ireland Funds we wish them every success and support they can get. We are proud to salute and honor Ali and Adi."
President of The Ireland Fund of Monaco Olivia Gaynor-Long said it was due recognition of their selfless dedication to human rights in the region.
"Adi’s and Ali’s achievements with CCI and the amazing work they continue to do leaves us all in awe," Ms Gaynor-Long said.
"Raising over €100 million to make the lives of Chernobyl children better is a phenomenal achievement from where this all started. Despite almost insurmountable obstacles, they continue to give hope to some of the most abandoned and deprived children in Europe.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved