Chaplain to the Ukrainian community in Dublin Fr Vasyl Kornitsky has made a desperate plea to Irish officials to help his niece and her baby son escape their war-ravaged homeland.
The infant, Matviy Bolibukh, was born on 24 September, and is only in possession of a birth certificate. Without a passport, the baby boy cannot enter Ireland.
Last week, the Minister for Justice Helen McEntee announced the immediate lifting of visa requirements between Ukraine and Ireland.
Donnycarney-based Fr Kornitsky is pleading with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Irish Government to allow the child to enter the country with his mother.
The infant’s mother Iryna (22) has a passport, and Fr Basil would like to take the two of them to safety in Ireland, for the time being.
“I rang the hotline in the Department of Foreign Affairs and they told me that if you don’t have a passport, you cannot enter Ireland,” he told Gazette.ie this morning.
“I’m asking them to help me to get Matviy into Ireland,” the chaplain (pictured) added.
Iryna’s 27-year-old husband Mykhaylo will remain in the family’s home town of Husyatyn in western Ukraine, and expects to be called up to fight shortly.
Irish citizen Fr Kornitsky has been a curate at Our Lady Of Consolation Church in Dublin 5 for the last ten years, and was ordained in Ukraine 17 years ago.
Fr Basil last visited Ukraine for New Year’s Eve, and says that, while he always feared war, he never expected the devastation that had been wrought in the past few days.
“I never expected a full-scale war. It was always at the back of my mind, of course, but we never expected this devastation,” he said.
“My poor people are suffering. There is so much pain and suffering caused by this war,” he told Gazette.ie.
Meanwhile, at Blackhall Place, the Ukrainian flag will be raised at two pm today in order to demonstrate the Law Society's solidarity with the people of Ukraine.