A Clonmel woman who has inspired others with her ‘vision, fortitude and dignity’ as she campaigns for children affected by the worst nuclear disaster the world has ever seen, was honoured by a civic reception in the town where she grew up, this week.
Adi Roche, founder of the Chernobyl Childrens Project International, and Clonmel native, was back in her home town last Friday night to humbly accept the honour on her own behalf, on behalf of all those who volunteer for the charity and on behalf of the people of Chernobyl.
Surrounded by family and friends from the Project, Adi said that she was accepting the tribute of the borough council’s civic reception in honour of those affected by the Chernobyl tragedy and also for the tremendous volunteers who alleviate the pain of the victims of the disaster.
Speaking to the Borough Council chamber packed with family members and supporters of the charity from CLonmel and Dublin, Adi said that “the citizens of Clonmel are the ones who opened their hearts, minds, homes and purse strings to the very, very vulnerable children, welcoming them year after year, giving the gift of life and happiness. They go back to their families with something they never experienced before - pure and utter love. It’s not something you can make up.”
On an emotional night for the Clonmel woman she fondly remembered her upbringing in the town, and said it was the values and life lessons she learned from her parents, Chris and Sean of Western Road, and her teachers at the Presentation School, that made her the person she is today. “I feel so special tonight. Thank God I can come home to the beautiful place where I was formed, grew up and was raised.”
Many tributes were paid on the night, from current and former councillors, and Oireachtas members, including a special message from Tanaiste Eamonn Gilmore who said Adi “stands out as a prime example of all that is best in Ireland’s contribution to Europe and the world.”
Speaking at the civic reception Mayor Siobhan Ambrose said: “She has sacrificed so much for her vision. For the last 25 years Adi has given of herself. We are delighted to honour her for her sterling service to the people of Chernobyl. Adi - you are an inspiration to us all.”
Fellow councillors said Adi had inspired the people of Ireland to open their hearts and said she is someone who has made a real difference in the world.Cllr Richie Molloy told Adi: “You could truly be described as the Mother Theresa of Clonmel.”