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Limerick standing for peace Limerick standing for peace


WATCH A ceremony marking the 2nd anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was held at Arthur’s Quay Park 



Pictured at the Limerick communities standing for peace event are Mila Voitovych, from the Ukrainian volunteer organisation ‘From Heart to Heart’, Denis Hardi, Limerick Migrant Integration Forum, Serhii Korobtsov, John Lannon, Doras Luimni, Una Heaton, Kate Njoku, Limerick Migrant Integration Forum, Olena Oleksienko, I Love Limerick, Mayor Ger Mitchell and Oleksandr Sarimsakov, a poet and former Ukrainian soldier. Picture: Richard Lynch/ilovelimerick

Limerick communities gather to show support in ‘Standing for Peace’ marking two-year anniversary of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia

Limerick Migrant Integration Forum members Anna Mazeika, Kate Njoku and Denis Hardi. Picture: Richard Lynch/ilovelimerick

Saturday, February 24 marked the second anniversary of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia which has resulted in thousands of deaths, the displacement of millions of people, and the widespread destruction of essential facilities and services.

Limerick has welcomed over 3,000 people escaping the war, and in doing so, they have formed bonds with the city and county that will extend across generations.

Speaking to I Love Limerick at the event, Olena Oleksienko said Ukrainians displaced since Russia’s full-scale attack appreciate the “help of all Irish people”.




Olena, a member of the I Love Limerick team, said, “This day is very hard for all Ukrainians because we had to leave our homes and start our new lives here in Ireland. And the support we’ve got from Irish people, from Irish society, is huge. And we so appreciate it and we want to thank each and every person for the support.

“We struggle not only for Ukraine, we struggle for everyone in Europe. Almost two years we live here, we’re trying to find our second home here. And thank you very much for your help, for your support, and for friendship.”

As the Ukrainian community in Limerick came together on February 24 to remember the victims of war and to show their appreciation for the warm welcome of the Irish people, it was also important to recognise the contributions being made by Ukrainians to our communities.

Olena explained fleeing Ukraine with her two daughters was a difficult decision, she said, “It was a hard decision to fly away, to leave Ukraine, but here we found a second home actually. My two girls are at school and also I’m working with you [I Love Limerick] and I’m happy here. And a lot of people started to work, to have their businesses. to get into the communities.”

Limerick standing for peace
Kate, Olena, Richard, Xin, Ben and Hugo of I Love Limerick. Picture: Richard Lynch/ilovelimerick

Across the country, tens of thousands of Ukrainians have attended employment support events, with many having already secured employment or started their own businesses. There are also 18,000 children from Ukraine enrolled in primary and secondary schools, adding to the rich diversity of our communities.

Doras CEO John Lannon said, “Limerick should be proud of the welcome it has shown to people from Ukraine. We must remember that the war continues to displace civilians, and to reduce access to education, economic opportunities, health care and food security. People continue to arrive in Ireland seeking protection, and while the circumstances they arrive into are not always ideal, we should continue to welcome and support them.”

He continued, “Everyone seeking protection in Ireland, be they asylum seekers or beneficiaries of temporary protection from Ukraine, should be treated with the dignity they deserve and helped to get on with their lives.”

For many of the people who arrived from Ukraine, the lack of available housing has meant that their stay in temporary, unsuitable accommodation has been difficult. Family life has been curtailed, and children’s development and mental health are affected.    

Nonetheless, the work done by a wide range of agencies and groups to provide access to services has been commendable.

Doras’ Ukraine Support and Integration Worker, Serhii Korobtsov said, “The thousands of men, women and children who saw their homes destroyed in Ukraine were received here with open arms. Ireland and Limerick have become their second home. And for this unwavering welcome, Ukrainians will be eternally grateful to the people and local communities of Limerick.”

When asked about the tough times over the past two years, Olena told I Love Limerick’s Richard Lynch that she didn’t want to “think about the hard things”, she said, “we need to focus on the positive and we need to do what we can in the situation we have. We need your help. We need your support because without this voice of support to show how strong we are and how much we need this feeling of community.”

Doras’ Limerick Standing for Peace gathering in Arthur’s Quay Park saw a large gathering of supporters on Saturday, February 24, and speaking at the event, Olena said, “It’s such an honour to be here, to be a part of all the communities, and to be able to support. It’s such an honour actually, I don’t know, I have no other words.”

Find out more about Doras
Read more local Ukraine stories

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.