In pictures: Chernobyl children arrive in Ireland for Christmas
These heartwarming images show the moment 39 Chernobyl children arrived into Dublin Airport ecstatic – as they prepare for an exciting Christmas.
The kids, some orphaned and some abandoned by parents who were unable to cope with their illnesses and disabilities landed in the capital yesterday afternoon.
It’s 30 years since the Chernobyl disaster.
The children were welcomed by Christmas carols and a standing ovation from more than 100 people.
Igor (16) has been visiting the Cox family in Castlebar, Co. Mayo for the past eight years.
He is just one of thousands of children who were abandoned into bleak, inhumane institutions as babies.
Though he has huge physical impairments all his life, he can now avail of a specially designed wheelchair, which gives him mobility and freedom.
He’s one of the family, according to Marie Cox.
“He spends four weeks in the summer and two to three at Christmas – I’ve four sons and he’s like a fifth son,” she said.
“The first time he came to Ireland he hadn’t experienced wind or felt the rain or hadn’t been outside of the institution ever.
“He can communicate with us.
“He loves it and usually five days before he’s due to leave he’d ask ‘mama, me stay?’ or ‘mama, Belarus broke, me stay?’
“It’s very tough (when he goes), my husband won’t even come to the airport with him because we just miss him so much and the house is so quiet when he’s gone,” she added.
Meanwhile, it was a long but exciting journey from Dublin to Kerry for Angelina (10) who made her first trip to Ireland.
Angelina can’t walk, use her hands or speak and communicates with her eyes.
She’ll stay with Susan Sugrue.
“We’re ready for her and there’s people dropping off presents at the house already,” Susan said.