Chair hosts reception in honour of children visiting the district from Chernobyl

30th August 2019

On Monday 5 August 2019, the Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Siobhán Currie, hosted a reception in the Townhall, Enniskillen for children visiting the district from Chernobyl.

Speaking at the recpetion, Councillor Currie, said:

“Mar Chathaoirleach ar Chomhairle Ceantair Fhear Manach agus na hÓmaí, tá áthas orm fáilte a chur romhaibh chuig halla an bhaile ar maidin.

As Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, I am delighted to welcome you all to the Townhall here in Enniskillen this morning.

I would like to begin proceedings this morning by saying “Dobry Den” to our visitors from the Ludchitsy and Obidovichy schools in the Mogilev region of Belarus. Mena zovut Siobhán.

It is a great privilege for me, as Chair of the Council, to host this reception this morning for you, our visitors from Belarus, and of course your host families. I understand that you are nearing the end of your three week visit to our district and I am confident that your host families will have ensured that your stay in the district has been a memorable one.

I would also like to extend a warm welcome to your interpreters, Danill and Natasha. You are both very welcome to the Townhall. I have no doubt that you have both been very busy over the past few weeks but I hope that you have found time during your stay to experience some of the hospitality for which this area is famous.

Over the years, we have welcomed many visitors to the area from the Mogilev region of Belarus and indeed in previous years we have welcomed visitors from Gomel, Bykov and Mozyr also. In honour of your visit to the district, I undertook a little bit of research on your home district and found that Mogilev has certainly made a significant contribution to world affairs. The parents of two Israeli prime ministers, Yitzak Rabin and Ariel Sharon emigrated from Mogilev. It is also the birthplace of Isaac Beilin who upon arriving in America changed his name to Irving Berlin and became one of the world’s most successful songwriters.

I know that for most of you, this is your first trip outside your home area, so it must be a great adventure for you to travel so far from home and to come to a country so far away. It is also a very courageous thing to do, leaving your families to travel over 2000 miles across Europe to spend three weeks with us here in the Fermanagh and Omagh district.

We are delighted that you have come to visit us and I am certain that you have had a wonderful time with your host families. I know that you have already visited Fermanagh Lakeland Forum and the world famous Marble Arch Caves during your stay and I am sure that you did so much more, individually with your host families.

This is the 22nd year that children from Belarus and Ukraine have spent three weeks in the district and over the years, more than 300 children have been hosted here in the Fermanagh and Omagh area. It is a source of great pride that so many of you are able to avail of the generosity of your host families. On your behalf, I would like to thank Jane and the hard working committee for all their efforts in arranging your trip and for organising host families for you to stay with. I would also like to thank your host families who have opened their homes and their hearts to you and I know that they will ensure that you will take back home with you, many wonderful memories of your stay in our district, memories which will last a lifetime.

I hope that the good weather which you have enjoyed thus far on your trip, will continue to allow this very beautiful part of the world to be shown up in its true light. When the sun shines, this really is a wonderful country. I would now ask each of our young visitors to accept a small gift bag as a memento of your visit to the district.