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Chernobyl kids arrive for life-prolonging holidays

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Pictured with Adi Roche were Nastia Sivakova

Pictured with Adi Roche were Nastia Sivakova

Jason Clarke Photography

Pictured were Maryna Tsitova and Andrea Keogh from Kilkenny

Pictured were Maryna Tsitova and Andrea Keogh from Kilkenny

Jason Clarke Photography

Igor Shadzkou.

Igor Shadzkou.

Jason Clarke Photography

Pictured was Sasha Leukin with Adi Roche.

Pictured was Sasha Leukin with Adi Roche.

Jason Clarke Photography

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Pictured with Adi Roche were Nastia Sivakova

These very special Chernobyl children have arrived here to spend the summer with families in Ireland.

The group of 30 children - who come from impoverished backgrounds and State-run institutions - will get a reprieve from the toxic environment and high levels of radiation to which they are exposed in Belarus and Ukraine.

Welcomed

Host families from Dublin, Cork, Kilkenny, Limerick and Mayo welcomed the kids yesterday for the start of their month-long holiday.

Massive amounts of radioactive material were released into the environment after the explosion at the Chernobyl power plant nearly 30 years ago.

The CEO of Chernobyl Children International, Adi Roche, said the time the children spent here would prolong their lives.

"Radiation knows no boundaries, but we feel privileged to be able to give these children some relief, love and 'breathing space' at this time of year," Ms Roche said.