Exiled Belarussian politician Svetlana Tikhanovskaya is among those sending St Patrick’s Day wishes to the country.
The 38-year-old, seen by many as the true leader of democratic Belarus, spent multiple summers in Roscrea through the Chernobyl Lifeline project.
After being officially defeated in the country’s presidential election last August, a result widely rejected by entities including the European Union, Svetlana fled the country and continues to fight for political reform in Belarus.
Ahead of St Patrick’s Day, she sent a Saint Patrick’s Day message to Ireland, a country she says she hopes to visit again soon, and “whose people have a very special place in (her) heart.”
She says Ireland has used its voice to keep the situation in Belarus on the international agenda, and thanks the 14 Irish members of the European Parliament and members of the Oireachtas for their efforts in adopting political prisoners.
Svetlana spent up to eight summers in Roscrea and also worked in the town to bring money back to her country.
Concluding her statement to the Irish people, she said “Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig”.