The Greater Chernobyl Cause

News Archive

The Greater Chernobyl Cause and its work has featured prominently in both regional, national and international publications over recent years.

Altyn Zhurek Award Ceremony


THE former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan is to award Cork charity founder Fiona Corcoran of the Greater Chernobyl Cause its top honour for her outstanding humanitarian work in the largest landlocked country in the world.

Fiona Corcoran from The Greater Chernobyl Cause at the hospice for the elderly in Semey,Kazakhstan.As you know the charity and its supporters raised the money for this new building.This new complex will eventually replace the old building seen best in stills and video   on Vimeo;Greater Chernobyl Cause;Semey Hospice Appeal. 433w, 768w, 1024w" style="font-size: 1em; text-align: center; font-family: "Open Sans", sans-serif; max-width: 100%; height: auto; border: 0px none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; width: auto;" width="620" />

Fiona Corcoran from The Greater Chernobyl Cause at the hospice for the elderly in Semey, Kazakhstan.




Ms Corcoran has flown this week to Almaty in Kazakhstan to receive the Altyn Zhurek which is the first and only award in the Republic of Kazakhstan that recognizes charitable contributions and the implementation of social projects. 

Fiona is the first individual from the West to be honoured in this way.

The Greater Chernobyl Cause is the only Irish charity to work in a vast country larger than Western Europe.

With her team of voluntary supporters, she has worked to transform the lives of some of the weakest and most vulnerable children condemned to life in desperate and dilapidated orphanages.

The charity found moving into Kazakhstan a natural progression from its work with victims of the nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl Power Station in Ukraine.

Fiona Corcoran from The Greater Chernobyl Cause at the hospice for the elderly in Semey,Kazakhstan.As you know the charity and its supporters raised the money for this new building.This new complex will eventually replace the old building seen best in stills and video   on Vimeo;Greater Chernobyl Cause;Semey Hospice Appeal. 433w, 768w, 1024w" style="max-width: 100%; height: auto; border: 0px none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; width: auto;" width="620" />

Fiona Corcoran from The Greater Chernobyl Cause with volunteers at the hospice for the elderly in Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan had been used as the testing ground for 500 nuclear explosions by the Soviet Union over a period of 40 years. These took place within 100 miles of the large industrial city of Semipalatinsk where Ms Corcoran began her work with abandoned babies.

Even today, some mothers have a defective gene thought to be caused by radiation and have given birth to babies suffering from cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus (water on the brain).

In August of this year the charity opened its newly built hospice in Kazakhstan.

The opening is the culmination of years of work transforming what had been described as “a hospice from hell” in the former Soviet republic, thanks to support from donors from every corner of Ireland.

Photos from the event



To coincide with the 30th Anniversary of The Chernobyl Disaster, The Greater Chernobyl Cause will send a shipment filled with Humanitarian Aid. It will  leave the Port of Cork bound for the our newly built hospice in Semipalatinsk Kazakhstan.

The aid includes vital hospital equipment, new clothes, therapy aids, household goods, etc. which will also go to the neglected hospitals, homeless shelters, care centres and impoverished villages in Kazakhstan.

As we commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Chernobyl Disaster, it is important to note that the people of Kazakhstan were also involved in the dreaded clean up at The Chernobyl Plant. In fact Leonid Petrovich Telyatnikov, who was born  in  1951, in, Kostanai Kazakhstan, was the head of the fire department at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and led the team of firefighters to the fire at Reactor Number 4 which became the Chernobyl disaster.

Despite the radiological dangers, they had no radiation suits, no respirators, and no working dosimeters. From the results of a blood test, it was estimated he received 4 grays of radiation.

Telyatnikov headed the firefighting effort at Chernobyl Reactor Unit 4 after the explosion on April 26, 1986. At that time Telyatnikov was the chief of military fire prevention at the Chernobyl nuclear-power station. Telyatnikov and his colleagues, a number of those also from Kazakhstan (as these countries were all part of the USSR), ascended the badly damaged and heavily radiation-contaminated roof of Reactor Unit 4 more than once in order to prevent the fires from spreading and endangering Reactor Unit 3. In 1987 Telyatnikov was named a Hero of the Soviet Union. Two of his assistants, Vladimir Pravik and Viktor Kibenok, were given the award posthumously, as they died from acute radiation sickness soon after the disaster.

Telyatnikov continued his service in the Ministry of the Interior of the USSR and, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, in Ukraine.

In 1998, Telyatnikov headed the volunteer fire department of Kiev, and designed the "Junior Firefighter" program.  He died of cancer at the age of 53. On April 26, 2006, the twentieth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, a monument was dedicated to him at the Baykove cemetery in Kiev where he is buried.

This 30th anniversary marks the starting point – not the limit – of the Chernobyl catastrophe which continues to unfold even today. Chernobyl is not in the past. Its repercussions are still being felt by some five million people living in areas of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia who were contaminated as a result of the accident. They have to cope with the ongoing political, social, environmental and health consequences of the disaster.

We must ensure that no more Chernobyl's ever take place again. The only way we can do this is to ensure that nuclear power has no future, whilst investing in renewable alternatives. Those who speak about the benefits of nuclear power should look deeply into the eyes and souls of the innocent victims, generations of alienated and forgotten people.  Whatever the obstacles we encounter along the way, we are certain of one thing … the plight of its abandoned people cannot be forgotten.

They are bereft of everything: we appeal to you to send whatever you can to The Greater Chernobyl Cause Unit 4 Southside Industrial Estate Pouladuf Rd Togher Cork Ph 021 4323276  / 087 9536133. Email:.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Concluded Fiona Corcoran Greater Chernobyl Cause




The Greater Chernobyl Cause, in association with Cork City Council,  held a Commemorative Service at Bishop Lucey park Cork on the 26th of April at 11.30am

The ceremony is an annual one and is symbolic and respectful, remembering those who have lost their lives at the Chernobyl plant, also remembering those who suffer today. The event incorporated poetry readings, an ecumenical service involving various religious groups, a roll call of those who died at the plant and a candlelit vigil.  The service was opened by Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Chris O Leary. Attendees included H.E. Mr. Maxim Peshkov Russian Ambassador to Ireland,  Serhii Romanenko  Chargés d'affaires Ukranian Embassy, City Fathers, personnel from the Navy, Cork City Fire-Brigade, Chamber of Commerce, Defence Force, schools, and the general public.




26TH APRIL 2016


11.30am   Greater Chernobyl Cause Introduction

11.40am   Opening Ceremony Hon. Lord Mayor of        

                   Cork Cllr Chris O Leary

11.50am   Address by H.E. Mr. Maxim Peshkov

                   Russian Ambassador to Ireland

11.55am   Address by Serhii Romanenko

                Chargés d'Affaires Ukranian Embassy

12.00am   Poetry Reading

12.10am   Ecumenical Service

12.20pm   Evgenia.Nesterenko.Trophy

                Recipient   Colaiste Pobail Bheanntrai

12.30pm  Goggins Hill Primary  School Choir

12.40pm   Roll Call of Victims of Chernobyl

                     Candle Light

12.45pm   Minute Silence

12.46pm   Last Post-Bugle-Lower Flag to Half Mast

12.56pm   Candle Vigil










Mercy Mission


Article from Tengri re Greater Chernobyl Cause

Greater Chernobyl Cause Mercy Mission 2

Greater Chernobyl Cause Mercy Mission 3

Greater Chernobyl Cause Mercy Mission 4

Air Astana

Once again, we at the Greater Chernobyl Cause owe Air Astana a heartfelt thanks for directly sponsoring flights to Kazakhstan for our founder Fiona Corcoran, as she made one of her bi-annual visits to bring aid to the neediest and most vulnerable of its population.


Fiona Corcoran visits Kazakhstan, thanks to Air Astana

Without the valued assistance from the airline, we would not be in a position to travel to the country where we participate in a number of projects such as overseeing the construction of a brand new hospice for the elderly in the city of Semipalatinsk. 

On one of her trips to Kazakhstan, Fiona visited a home for the elderly in the industrial city of Semipalatinsk. The lack of any nutritious food or medical provisions, along with the absence of basic hygiene, had left the old and vulnerable residents of this institution in a desperate state. Skeletal figures, sprawled across broken bed springs without even the most basic of bedding, were abandoned without any hope, being deprived of even the most rudimentary of comforts. 


Good news: through years of toil and fundraising, and with the support of sponsors such as Air Astana, The Greater Chernobyl Cause has financed the construction of an entirely new hospice within the grounds of the city’s General Hospital.  The hospice will open shortly, providing amelioration to the lot of the elderly, the frail and the forgotten. Together, we have given these vulnerable people light and hope where they for many years saw darkness and desperation. We have replaced that squalor and degradation with warmth and dignity. 


Having widely travelled countries of the former Soviet Union on charity missions since the 1990s, Fiona has seen Kazakhstan’s emergence and development from its Soviet-era days first hand. Kazakhstan is becoming known as an alternative travel destination for tourists who wish to take in all the country has to offer: its distinctive style of architecture (seen in the Zenkov Cathedral in Almaty and the Baiterek Tower in Astana) and its natural beauty, observed by taking a trip to Big Almaty Lake or hitting the slopes at Shymbulak ski resort. Tourists can unwind in the bars and nightclubs of Almaty and experience live jazz and opera shows beneath the city’s twinkling lights.Traditional cuisine is available for those brave enough to sample fare such as ‘beshbarmak’, washed down with the national beverage of ‘kumis’, derived from mare’s milk.   
For those visiting mainly for commerce instead of leisure, there is the advantage of doing business in a country regarded as having the largest and strongest economy in Central Asia, spurred by Kazakhstan’s exploitation of its significant oil and gas supply. This marketplace has attracted numerous foreign investments from many multi-national companies over the last decade, totalling hundreds of billions. As a result, thousands of expats from all corners of the globe now call business centres such as the capital of Astana ‘home’. Direct foreign investment into Kazakhstan has also provided much employment for the well-educated Kazakh population, noted for their academic prowess in the fields of mathematics, chemistry and astronautics.
Since May 2002, Air Astana has been leading the way for aviation in Central Asia and is constantly expanding in terms of new routes and fleet development. The airline has significantly contributed towards Kazakhstan’s fast growing economy by forging important links between Kazakhstan’s major cities and the rest of the world. Currently, the airline operates over 60 domestic and international routes, including flights to London, Paris, Amsterdam, Bangkok, New York and Tokyo, to name but a few. Air Astana boasts impeccable safety standards and implements a series of core values including reliability, hospitability and efficiency.  In research conducted by Skytrax Research, Air Astana has been voted the only 4-star airline in Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States. The airline is going from strength to strength, backing up their deserved laudation with a string of awards and certificates.
We at the Greater Chernobyl Cause are proud to be affiliated with and travel on Air Astana, an airline who's staff goes above and beyond in terms of customer service. We wholeheartedly appreciate that Air Astana can support charities working in Kazakhstan such as ourselves, as well as meeting the ever-changing needs of both the business and leisure traveller.
We would like to offer Air Astana sincere thanks for their assistance over the years, and we hope to enjoy many more years of their service in the future.