Solidarity and Support: Reflecting on the Tralee Peace March

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As we marked the second anniversary of the escalation of war in Ukraine, Tralee Town Park witnessed a remarkable gathering of solidarity and hope. The peace march, an event that saw a large turnout of Ukrainians alongside local residents, was a testament to the enduring spirit of community and support that defines Kerry. Among the attendees was Minister for Education and TD for Kerry, Norma Foley; Mayor of Tralee, Councillor Terry O’Brien; and the Bishop of Kerry, Raymond Browne, all united in a common cause for peace.

I attended the march along with my Social Democrat colleague Mistura Oyebanji, standing shoulder to shoulder with individuals whose resilience in the face of adversity is nothing short of inspirational. As a candidate for Kerry County Council, witnessing such a powerful display of unity and compassion reaffirms my belief in the strength of our community’s values.

The event was highlighted by poignant speeches, but one that particularly resonated came from a fifth-year student, representing the Ukrainian community in Kerry. His words were a powerful reminder of the impact of our actions and the critical support Ireland has offered during these trying times. “We are immensely thankful to the people of Ireland and Kerry. Without your support, some of us might not have survived,” he said, echoing the sentiments of many who have found a haven in our community.

This statement reminds us that our support can be the difference between despair and hope, between isolation and community. As Kerry, and indeed Ireland, continues to offer refuge and solidarity to those displaced by conflict, it’s crucial we remember the power of our collective action.