Cllr Damian Boylan reports

It has been 42 days since Russia invaded Ukraine. In an act of sheer brutality, ordinary people were uprooted and driven from their homes. Men and women stayed to fight to protect their country and their way of life. Many Ukrainian men returned to Ukraine to help with the war effort. I never thought that in my lifetime I would speak of war in Europe. But what I am going to speak of is the response of the Irish people and most notably the people of Blarney and surrounding areas. From the very moment that the call went out to say that we should expect visitors from the Ukraine, the area sprung into action. Blarney GAA has once again shown itself to be at the heart of things and has devoted its clubhouse to being a shop with all items that a fleeing family could need available. I won’t name names, but a selection of people who we all know, set things up so that items were laid out and people treated with respect and dignity while they took what they needed to begin a new life here. In the last two weeks I have seen calls go out for prams, bicycles, a guitar and lego. All were answered. A team that was formed to help their community during the recent pandemic probably never thought they would be needed again so soon. Nevertheless, as soon as they recognised that this needed doing, they reacted. Visitors have been housed, and many thanks are due to those who so graciously offered their spare bedrooms and their homes. The local schools have been outstanding in their efforts to provide all that is needed for a young student and local businesses have been beyond generous. One story of that generosity is that of a local motor dealer, who when asked to support a temporary issue that required money responded by saying just to send on the invoice. They never even asked the amount. While this generosity is incredible it is not uncommon. The people of this area have provided everything that has been asked for. I have no doubt that this will continue until this crisis ends and these people return home. There is lots going on and I will ensure that you are brought up to speed next month, but I felt that this opportunity couldn’t pass without acknowledging everyone and their efforts. Well done all, we are very proud of you. As always if there is an issue I can help please don’t hesitate to contact me Damian