Cootehill welcomes new residents

A special event to welcome almost 40 Ukrainians to Cootehill was held over the weekend.

Showcasing Irish food, culture and the céad míle fáilte, people from across the town and surrounding area were on hand for the welcome event.

Around 35 people from Ukraine are being accommodated at the Errigal Country House Hotel and Damien House following their arrival into Ireland.

A showcase of Irish culture and music was followed by a presentation from some of the Ukrainian children and teenagers. They were accompanied by a group of their mothers, some of whom wore their beautifully embroidered traditional blouses.

“The Ukrainian children did a lovely presentation, a powerpoint presentation and then they had some music from the local Comhaltas group,” says Connie Whelan of the Cootehill Town Team.

A talk on the history of Cootehill and the surrounding areas was given by local historian Patrick Cassidy, with assistance from local Ukrainian interpreter Natasha Murdock.

The event was held in the former Ulster Bank building in Cootehill and food and treats were supplied through donations from some local businesses. It was organised by Philomena McQuaid and Dr Fiona O’Hanlon on behalf of the Town Team.

A number of families are being accommodated in Cootehill but a lack of transport options is proving a challenge for them. While some local companies and businesses have offered jobs, the lack of childcare means many mothers cannot take up the option.

“They’re not here for economic reasons, they’re fleeing a war,” says Connie. “When you talk to them, it’s a very difficult situation from their point of view because they really want to be back in their own country.”

Children and teenagers from Ukraine are being accommodated in local schools. CMETB Director of Schools Paddy Flood said recently that almost 170 students have been given places in schools across Cavan and Monaghan.