Witnessing the exodus of large tracts of the Ukrainian population due to the atrocities of war is heart-breaking. What an unimaginable wrench it must be to leave neighbours, family and places you call home in such terrible and urgent conditions.
In true Irish form we look to integrate and welcome this nation, so similar to our own, with open arms. It was therefore a special day indeed on August 6th when a collaborative project of Irish and Ukrainian work saw the official opening of the Thurles Ukrainian Community Centre.
The idea behind it is to emulate the centres that assisted so many Irish emigrants to London, Sydney, New York and other cities throughout the world. This centre nestled between the Premier Hall and the Courthouse on Rossa Street in Thurles will provide a base and a friendly place to meet up, make contacts, share information, gain employment and so much more.
John Gleeson and his brother Billy Gleeson were instrumental in the establishment of this Centre and were a big part of the launch and the excellent atmosphere that reined on the day. Both the Rotary Club of Thurles and the Thurles Community Social Services joined forces to ensure that this previously unoccupied building would find a productive function once more. Huge generosity was also shown by several businesses in the area in the setting up of the premises.
The Littleton, Templemore and Thurles based Ukrainains cooked a fine array of lunch time food for the launch. A day of song and music, face painting and story-telling ensued. Long may the centre thrive and become a safe and happy place for Ukrainian children to play and their grown ups to relax in. Thanks to all involved for such a proactive approach to a difficult situation.