CORK (IRELAND) — Diplomacy in Ireland – The European Diplomat’s Editor-in-Chief was honoured in two different ceremonies last week by representatives from Ukraine. Aside from his work as a journalist, Miceal O’Hurley has been active in his support of Ukraine for many years.
On Thursday, 6 October O’Hurley was presented with a medal from the General’s Staff, Commander of Infantry of the Armed Forces of Ukraine for his military service. The award was presented by Lieutenant General Serhii Ostrovskii, Deputy Commander of Ground Forced, Armed Forces of Ukraine (retired) at a ceremony in Youghal, Co. Cork. General Ostrovskii presented awards to Irisih citizens in recognition of their enduring support of Ukraine as well as members of the Ukrainian diaspora whom have been particularly active in their support of the Motherland despite their circumnstances as evacuees.
O’Hurley was also honoured by His Beatitude, Epiphanius I, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine with a medal for his humanitarian service. The medal was presented by Fr. Vitalii Banchak, Secretary to the Metropolitan on behalf of His Beatitude during a special liturgy in Youghal at the 800-year old Collegiate Church of St. Mary. His Excellency Paul Colton, Bishop of Cork and the Rector, The Reverend Mr. Andrew Orr were in attendance as hosts for the liturgy for the Ukrainian community in Cork. According to recent statistic from the Government of Ireland some 5,000 Ukrainians now live in Cork under the European Union Temporary Protection Directive.
In presenting the medal to O’Hurley, Fr. Vitalii cited the 238 families he and his wife Oksana Shadrina directly assisted in escaping Ukraine in the very first days of the war. Working with donors across the globe, O’Hurley and Shadrina arranged for vulnerable persons, incuding children requiring continuing medical care, to be exfiltrated from intense combat areas or territories under enemy occupation. O’Hurley was also commended for his continued assistance to the Ukrainian community in Ireland and his work in sending humanitarian aid to Ukraine to support medical facilities, a kindergarten and an orphanage.
O’Hurley helped organise the Ukrainian-Irish Solidarity Committee (UISC) shortly after Russians expanded their 8-year invasion of Ukraine in February of this year. UISC organises conversational English classes, cultural activities and provides various supports to Ukrainians that evacuated Ukraine and are now living in Cork. Today, O’Hurely heads the Strong Nation International Fund which supports the Armed Forces of Ukraine and provides humanitarian assistance along the contact line, focusing on newly liberated territories.
Speaking on the occasion, O’Hurley said, “To think His Beatitude the Metropolitan would remember me along with the Ukrainian community here tonight is humbling. He truly is a Good Shepherd who cares for his flock. I’m honoured to be counted amongst the Ukrainan people gathered here today.”
O’Hurley will return to Ukraine in the coming weeks.