It’s one thing to sympathise – but this family acted

I’m currently filming ‘Home Thoughts From Abroad’ – a BAI-funded series that opens a window on the largest non-Irish national communities here in Ireland. It was to focus on six nations. Then Ukraine happened. All of a sudden, from not really registering on the top populations list, Ukraine is among the top three largest non-Irish national populations, after the UK and Poland. So, the six-part series has become an eight-part series.

Unlike the other communities, that have increased in size over the years and whose members have largely planned their move to Ireland, the Ukrainian community members have found themselves here having fled from the war that has turned lives upside down and, horrifically, ended so many others. In filming this episode, then, the format is necessarily different. Producer Bill Tyson put me in touch with Rebecca and Peter Kenny who, with their daughter Layla, decided that watching the news from Ukraine unfold with the outraged disbelief that many of us felt was not enough. They contacted the Scoop Foundation and offered their home to Ukrainian refugees. Within days two young Ukrainian women had moved in. That was a year ago. One of the two has moved out due to a work opportunity. The second, Anastasiia, is now an adopted member of the Kenny family.

I interviewed Anastasiia, Layla, Rebecca and Peter for the series, and felt heart-warmed by the story. You can see a clip from it on my YouTube channel here.