Longford businessman sets off for Chernobyl

Patrick Hanlon, Owen McGinityPhoto by Shelley Corcoran
A County Longford businessman this week embarked on a journey with somewhat of a difference as he and five others set off on a gruelling 4,500km trek to disaster hit Chernobyl.

A County Longford businessman this week embarked on a journey with somewhat of a difference as he and five others set off on a gruelling 4,500km trek to disaster hit Chernobyl.

Eoin McGinnity commenced his “maiden voyage” to the Ukranian province last Friday in a bid to provide valuable essentials to local children still affected by a disaster more than 27 years ago.

The talkative 38-year-old and director with Longford town DIY firm Providers said for all his inexperience when it comes to long distance charitable jaunts, the cross European adventure is one that excites him greatly.

“I’ve done nothing like this before, definitely not,” he giggled quietly to himself. “The truck which I am driving has actually done it (journey) before and gone to Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, all over really. You could say, I’m in safe hands.”

Joking aside, Eoin and his five strong crew have set a deadline of Thursday (tomorrow) to reach the Belarus-Ukranian border ahead of a three day stopover in Chernobyl itself.

There, the group plan on handing out vital supplies such as medicine equipment, building materials and clothing, the latter of which Eoin will be carrying in the back of his 1995 registered truck.

Much of those contents have come courtesy of sponsorship from a number of firms, namely Dulux Paint, Beko, Indesit, Firewarm Stoves, Briody bedding, Waterford Crystal, Portwest Clothing, Stanley Tools, Basta and Colortrend Paint.

Local garage owner Paddy Hanlon of Gala, Longford town, also stumped up vital fuel supplies to set Eoin on his way during the early hours of last Friday morning.

And despite numerous advances from friends to accompony him, Eoin turned down those requests, declining even to bring a few CDs to help break up the journey.

“No, it will be just me myself in the truck,” he assuredly replied. “The sound of the engine will keep me going.”

Whether Eoin is of the same opinion upon his return home next week, only time will tell.