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The long dark nights are ahead of us and Halloween will be the major spooky event in the minds of every child in this country. Soon our children will also be thinking of writing their letters to Santa. On the outside looking in, it would seem as if we move from one party time to the next, but this is not the case for the children affected by the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. To these victims, suffering from the effects of radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of more than 2 decades ago, the legacy of 1986 is not just a spooky fictional event but a harsh reality!

Over the last 20 years Irish people have helped the stricken population of the Belarus area affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. One such person is Vanessa Kennerney, secretary of the Chernobyl North Dublin Outreach Group. This voluntary group raises funds to help provide respite care in Ireland for these children during the times of greatest risk, the summer, when intense heat raises the spread of radioactive materials in contaminated areas. Examinations of these children, after their summer break in Ireland, have shown the beneficial effects of this programme indicating that radiation levels in their systems has dropped by up to 50%, in some cases.

Along with her work colleagues in the Seed Testing Laboratory in the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM), and other organisations such as Coillte, Office of Public Works, Europa Facilities Management, and SAP Group, Vanessa hopes to raise at least €4000 through her “Crann Daire go Deo” initiative. To mark the 25th Anniversary of the Chernobyl Disaster, a total of 25 Oak trees, donated by Coillte will be planted at a ceremony, on the 30th November, at the Backweston Campus grounds located near Celbridge, Co Kildare. The attendance of Adi Roche founder and CEO of Chernobyl Children\'s Project International (CCPI) will be greatly anticipated on the day.

Past and present staff of the Seed Testing Laboratory, the wider Backweston Laboratory Campus staff and friends, have sponsored each of the trees thus raising much needed funds for the cause. The trees will be numbered and a certificate presented to each sponsor in recognition of their contribution towards the Chernobyl Children’s Fund.

If any additional information is required please visit our website at. or contact Vanessa Kennerney at 087 6710376.

Link to Make a Wish Ireland


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