Lina Gudziknaite, Oxsana Medelyte, Armandas Medelis, Chlóe Galliou, Monika Mordarska, Arian Pluta, Kate Pluta and Jola Pluta at Sunday's Solidarity with Ukraine walk in Naas
Children rescued from the war in Ukraine are already living in the Naas area, it has emerged.
A ‘Solidarity Walk’ held in Naas on Sunday was one of several events held last week around County Kildare to raise funds for charities such as the Irish Red Cross. The Naas march featured several people carrying Ukraine flags and carrying placards like ‘Stand With Ukraine’ and ‘Stop The War’.
Cllr Fintan Brett confirmed almost €20,000 was collected in the Naas area over Saturday and Sunday and he paid tribute to the generosity of the public.
Dara Wyer, Maria Fitzgibbon and Ruby Cowdell at the Solidarity Walk. Picture: Aishling Conway
Speeches were made in Poplar Square on Sunday and the attendance, which included local public representatives, heard from a Ukranian native who gave her name as Nataliya who said she had rescued children from the Kyiv area last week.
She said: “I’m just back from Kyiv on Friday.
“I took three kids with me — they are kids of friends who are doctors who stayed to save people’s lives.
“They are from a small town called Bucha near Kyiv which is surrounded by Russian troops.
“No food or medical supplies are being allowed in.”
Nataliya said that her nephew stayed in Ukraine with his family.
She told the crowd: “Every morning we send a message to family and friends: ‘Are you alive?’ I cannot comprehend this new reality. People who try to escape from cities are simply being killed on the road. I cannot understand how humans can do this to other people.”
Urging support for her home country, she said;: “Don’t give up, stand up for Ukraine.” Natalie also thanked the local community for their enourmous generosity. She continued: “I am in Ireland a long time and I work in Naas. Irish generosity is enormous.”
Maria Smirnova who raised €40 euro for the Ukranian people by selling daisies. Picture: Aishling Conway
Nataliya also referred to the numbers of Ukranian refugees who will be coming to Ireland. Government estimates have already put the figure at 80,000 or higher.
Nataliya said: “You will see a lot of Ukranian people on the streets soon. They will come to Ireland to stay safe.
“But they don’t want to stay in Ireland forever, they want to go back home some day.”
The Naas event was organised by four friends: Ukranian native Marina Trischenko, Nikki Teahan, Karina Stafford and Niamh Cowdell.
Leah Headon, Mary Quinn, Rosemarie O'Sullivan and Donal Corcoran with Luna. Picture: Aishling Conway
Niamh urged people to to charities such as the Irish Red Cross to help get humanitarian aid to Ukraine’s people.
Niamh said: “We are a group of people, from Naas and Ukraine affected, like us all, by the awful events now happening in Ukraine.
“We wanted to do something to help in a practical way so have set up this page to enable people in Kildare to donate money as this is the best way of getting real assistance there.”
All the money raised will go to the Irish Red Cross Ukraine Crisis apppeal.
Niamh added: “These Ukranian people are real men, women and children who are facing hardship, destruction or death. We stand in solidarity with the Ukranian people and everybody affected by this war. We will also continue to fight for peace and justice and solidarity.”
The crowd also paused for a moment’s silence for Ukraine.
Marina Trishchenko said she was “so touched” to see the large attendance at the event in Naas.
She explained: “We’re overwhelmed by the support and generosity of the community since the war broke out in Ukraine.
“This war shattered the lives of Ukrainian people but it united people all over the world. I am proud to be Irish, as much as I am Ukranian. Thank you all for everything."
In Newbridge, events were held in St Conleth’s Church and at the Liffey Linear Park in recent days.
In St Conleth’s Church, pupils from Scoil Mhuire Senior designed a Prayer Wall where people could write messages for Ukraine. Parish Priest Fr Ruairi Ó Domhnaill later signed the Prayer Wall.
Fr Ruairí signing the prayer wall in Newbridge Parish Church, signifying a commitment to pray for the people of Ukraine and stand with them. Picture: Charlotte Vard
Meanwhile The Irish Red Cross said that over 100 Kildare people have offered spare rooms and vacant properties to accommodate Ukrainian refugees.
The charity is in contact with the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) regarding the housing needs of thousands of people due to arrive in coming weeks.
A spokesperson said: “We will be using our Register of Pledges where we seek from the public spare rooms and vacant properties so we can help Ukrainian refugees live in our communities.
Anna Lee and Muireann Gilbert with Paul Stafford, collecting for Ukraine. Picture: Aishling Conway
“Already over 2,000 pledges have been registered with the Irish Red Cross, 104 coming from people in Kildare.”
Anybody in a position to offer support in the form of accommodation for Ukrainian refugees is asked to register at: https://registerofpledges.redcross.ie/
A local area can also sponsor a family through the Community Sponsorship Ireland initiative. Once the conditions are met the refugee family is welcomed into the community. The Irish Red Cross has five groups in operation already with refugees from countries such as Syria and Afghanistan.
Irish Red Cross Secretary General Liam O’Dwyer said: “Part of our brief here was to build a relationship with a specific group of refugees, learning what their needs and plans were and working to match them with pledged and private rented accommodation throughout Ireland.
“Irish Red Cross case workers connect refugees with the hosting families and keep in touch to ensure their education or work plans develop properly.”
Anybody who would like to donate online can do so on the www.idonate.ie at the ‘Naas Solidarity Walk with Ukraine’ page.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.