The village of Laois celebrates the Independence Day of Ukraine

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Clonaslee found himself decked out in streamers and yellow and blue flags on Wednesday August 24.

Ukrainian music could be heard on the beautiful sunny evening as a large crowd gathered at the Heritage Center, to be entertained with wonderful dances, songs, gymnastics and amazing Ukrainian cuisine.

The celebrations began at 6 p.m., with Valaria, a teacher from Ukraine, doing MC.

She called on Molly Buckley to welcome everyone on behalf of the organizing committee.

Molly said: “Father O’Reilly, Councilors Conor Bergin and Seamus McDonald, Principals, the wonderful community here in Clonaslee, but most of all our Ukrainian friends. Welcome to this event to celebrate Independence Day from Ukraine.

“On behalf of the organizing committee, I welcome you all here tonight. This event was a partnership between the Ukrainian and Clonaslee committees.

“I want to pay tribute to both bands. They put a lot of energy into preparing for this important celebration of Ukraine’s Independence Day.

“The Clonaslee Committee is an exceptional group of women, nothing is too much trouble, they do whatever needs to be done. I have never met a better group. I play a very small role, but it is a joy to work with them all.

“My involvement is as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Clonaslee College. The Principal, Staff, Board and Students were concerned about the situation in Ukraine and wanted to do something to help, they organized a morning coffee to help people coming to Clonaslee.

“So many other people helped make this event a success, and I thank you all.

“The Ukrainian group has settled well in Clonaslee. Some work, some go to school and all are involved in the “Failte insteach” program – English spoken. Hope you don’t mind if I mention a woman who is a Leader – it’s Valaria. She’s a remarkable woman. I thank her for her support and help to all of us.

“They have great accommodation in Clonaslee, thanks to Val Rowney.

“I congratulate the people of Ukraine on their Independence Day. 31 years of independence. You have inspired the world with your courage and dedication to freedom. Today is not just a celebration of past, but a resounding affirmation that Ukraine proudly remains – and will remain – a sovereign and independent nation.

“In Ireland, we are very aware of the struggle for freedom and we will continue to stand with the people of Ukraine,” Molly concluded.

The evening was enjoyed by all.

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