The Chernobyl Greater Cause

The Greater Chernobyl Cause

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

Irish charity founder to receive humanitarian award from Russian President Putin


Fiona Corcoran is to become the first Irish person to receive the Order of Friendship award (Photo: Facebook/The Greater Chernobyl Cause)

A Cork woman is set to become the first Irish recipient of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ‘Order of Friendship’ award.

Founder of the Greater Chernobyl Cause charity Fiona Corcoran will meet the Russian president tomorrow afternoon in the Kremlin and receive the award for her outstanding humanitarian work in Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

The charity began as a response to the world’s worst nuclear disaster in Chernobyl in 1986, but has since widened its aid to help concentrate on the human casualties of the break-up of the former Soviet Union.

Fiona said she was ‘taken back’ when she was notified of the award by the Russian Ambassador to Ireland Maxim Peshov.

“I was extremely taken back when I heard,” she told

“Life is very difficult for charities at the moment and I can only hope this strengthens the cause.”









Fiona and the former Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr John Buttimer, pictured in 2013 (Photo: Facebook/The Greater Chernobyl Cause)








Fiona’s work began in 1995 when she read of four Russian children being treated in a hospital in Cork. Since then, the former banker has focused on providing services to disadvantaged people in parts of Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

“The story of the four children in hospital, that’s what opened my eyes to that part of the world,” Fiona said.

“The first time I visited Russia, I went to a hospice where they had a budget of a few cents for every person on a daily basis. The conditions were like what you’d imagine a very bad Ireland in the last 19th, early 20th centuries, draconian, horrendous conditions.

“We rebuilt the home and now they have extra carers too, the carers they have are fantastic.

“But there is still so much to be done. There are people living in the underground sewage system, anywhere for a bit of warmth.”

Fiona is currently working in Izanskoye, which is a seven-hour drive east of Moscow. Living in Carrigaline, Co Cork, she travels with her charity six or seven times a year.

“We’re a charity with a difference because we secure as much product and service as we possibly can,” she said.

“We started work in Ukraine, but now we do a lot of work in Russia and a lot of work in Kazakhstan, a country with a 40-year legacy of nuclear testing.

“There can’t be any borders as a charity.”

The charity has previously received an Honorary Diploma from the President of Kazakhstan and the Order of Princess Olga award from the President of the Ukraine.

Fiona Corcoran will receive her award tomorrow at 3pm in the Kremlin.