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25 May 2022

IN PICTURES: Ukraine refugees give back to Laois at Portlaoise town clean up

Ukrainian refugees living in Laois are so grateful to Laois Integration Network for opening up a ‘Zero Cost Shop’ in Portlaoise town that they came out in force to help during this week’s ‘Clean up Week’ in Laois.

The refugees joined Laois Integration Committee members and Portlaoise Tidy Town members on Wednesday, April 20l and many are looking forward to continuing to support the Tidy Towns committee.     

Gerry Browne, Chairperson of Portlaoise Tidy Towns said that they were delighted when contacted by Laois Integration Network about this offer. 

"We are always looking for volunteers and this is a lovely gesture from the Ukrainian refugees. We look forward to welcoming them to our Tidy Towns community," commented Mr Browne.  

Ms Ann Carroll, Administrative Officer, Laois County Council said that she was delighted that the Ukrainian community in the county wanted to join with local communities to assist in litter picking and to participate in Clean Up Laois Week which has been operated by An Taisce since 1999 in partnership with the Department of Environment, Heritage & Local Government and local authorities throughout the country. It returned to the county after a two year break, due to Covid 19 restrictions.  

Karen McHugh, Chairperson of Laois Integration Network said that she and all the LIN Committee were humbled when Ukrainian refugees who are coming into the shop for the past few weeks, asked if they could ‘give back to the community of Laois’.

"It is astounding to think of these people coming from a war-torn country and they genuinely do just want to give back to the community.  Since the opening of our Zero Cost Shop at Bull Lane in Portlaoise, the committee have welcomed hundreds of Ukrainian refugees to the shop.  The refugees are able to take whatever they need during their difficult time and so many are now volunteering in the shop too.  We are so grateful to the donations given to date by the Laois Community, all of which has made such a difference already to the Ukrainian refugees," said Ms McHugh.  

SCROLL THROUGH the gallery above to see photos taken at the Portlaoise clean up by Renata Metelicka from Rene PR Design.

The zero-cost shop is located at the Old XtraVision shop on Bull Lane (right around the corner from Mulhall’s Supervalu) in Portlaoise town.    

It is estimated that to date 300 Ukraines have arrived in Laois, with some being housed by families, but most are in temporary accommodation including hotels in Portlaoise, Abbeyleix, Durrow, Clonaslee, Mountmellick and other locations around the county   The zero-cost shop contains everything that will be needed including clothes, food, sanitary products, shoes and toys for children.  

Ms McHugh concluded by saying that if anyone has good quality bike safety equipment for children and/or adults, including helmets if possible, please drop them into the Zero Cost Shop during opening hours: Monday and Wednesdays from 4-6.00pm and on Saturdays from 12-4.00pm.  Alternatively, donations can be dropped in by appointment.  People can check out Laois Integration Network on their Facebook and Twitter pages.  

Donations can be made directly to Laois Integration Network Credit Union account. 

Account Name: 

Laois Integration Network; IBAN: IE62POCO99211710968699  BIC:   POCOIE21 

Laois Integration Network (LIN) is a community organisation in Laois that promotes cultural diversity and effective integration throughout the County of Laois. It was established in February 2016, initially under the auspices of Doras Syrian Resettlement Project and since June 2016 as a separate entity comprising of local voluntary and statutory organisations as well as individuals from Irish and migrant and diverse faith communities throughout Laois. 

National Spring Clean has been operated by An Taisce since 1999 in partnership with the Department of Environment, Heritage & Local Government and local authorities throughout the country.

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