A NEWCESTOWN-based bus driver, arrived back in Cork last week with 32 Ukrainians onboard, having already driven over on the first leg of the journey to the Polish / Ukrainian border with a bus full of essential supplies.
Niall Cronin of Cronin’s Coaches, along with Dennehy Commercials and Quinn’s Coaches in Newry, filled up one of his coaches with essential supplies as part of the ‘Safe Harbour for Ukraine’ community project.
Niall said he and three other drivers left Cork on Tuesday (March 15th) with the bus packed with supplies and made it to Rzeszow on the Polish/Ukrainian border two days later.
‘The response to the whole campaign has been unbelievable. We only started this two weeks ago and people really responded to the appeal. We were able to pack the bus with supplies, as well as two arctic trucks and we still have more supplies that we will keep for people coming here,’ said Niall.
‘John Dennehy from Dennehy Commercials flew out to Poland ahead of us to liaise with the people there. We dropped off the medical supplies to the border when we arrived, before picking up our passengers.’
Niall and his team then ended up bringing back 32 people on their return leg journey, including a little dog named Aza.
‘We had 42 people lined up but some were not mentally or emotionally able to travel for the long bus journey, so we flew 12 of them to Shannon. ‘We also lost six people who were unsure about travelling to Ireland.’
Following a gruelling journey across Europe, they arrived back into Cork on Monday March 21st, where the Kingsley Hotel put the refugees up for two nights.
‘This gave them a chance to settle in before their host families arrived to pick them up where they will settle for the next few months.’
While it was a long journey for Niall and his team, he said it has been a very worthwhile experience and has thanked everyone for helping the project so far.
They plan to continue helping those refugees integrate while living here.
A GoFundMe page set up by the project has already raised over €83,000 with money still being donated by the general public
See www.safeharbourforukraine.org for more info
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