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President Higgins leads candle lighting ceremony on 35th anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear tragedy 

President Michael D Higgins has led a global candle lighting ceremony in commemoration of the 35th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear incident. 

is wife Sabina joined him in lighting the candle today as part of the event organised by Chernobyl Children International (CCI). 

The event was created to remember those who gave their lives trying to curb the release of the radiation of a nuclear plant in northern Ukraine, after two catastrophic explosions occurred on April 26, 1986. 

According to CCI, 700,000 men, known as liquidators, risked their lives and exposed themselves to dangerous levels of radiation to contain the situation.

At least 40,000 of these men have died and a further 70,000 are disabled, with 20pc of these deaths being from suicide.

President Higgins has today thanked all those who have worked tirelessly to help the victims of Chernobyl. 

Four years ago, he became one of the world’s first Head of State to back the Chernobyl Remberance Day- started by the United Nations. 

“Let us all commit to ensuring that the tragedy of Chernobyl is never relegated to the realms of forgotten or neglected history, erroneously consigning this event to the past as something which no longer causes any threat,” President Higgins said in a statement.

“The reality is very different: ‘Chernobyl’ is of the past, and should inform present and future actions and decisions.”

“In remembering Chernobyl today, we not only remember the victims but express, too, our collective hope for a safer future.

“Let us use our recall of the Day to celebrate the human resilience and solidarity, manifested in the aftermath of the disaster as a source for our own resolve in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

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