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Scandal 'won't deter charity volunteer from work'

THE Irish charity volunteer at the centre of the false passport scandal won't be deterred from returning to Russia.

Debbie Deegan, head of 'To Russia with Love', said the unfortunate aid worker at the centre of the revelation last visited the country three years ago.

She has since gone on trips around the world with her parents without having any problems with her passport.

"The volunteer has no plans at the moment to go back to Russia but she tends to go out every second year," Ms Deegan explained.

"She's a great girl. I'd say she probably will go back there."


Gardai informed the volunteer last week that details from her passport had been used by a Russian spy ring that was uncovered by US officials earlier this year. It is still not known how the passport was accessed.

The charity, which has been helping children in Russian orphanages for the past 12 years, now hopes this latest controversy won't stall its plans to raise €450,000 this year to continue its life-changing work.

"When you go to any country you have to hand up your passports. We don't have our passports in our possession all of the time," Ms Deegan added.

"I wouldn't have any concerns with our volunteers going to Russia. I would always tell them to be super-efficient about their passports.

"Our only focus now is the children. My concern is the minus 45C temperatures expected in Russia over the winter. Those temperatures don't bode well in an orphanage."

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