Forty children and young adults from Chernobyl were given a warm welcome at Dublin Airport as they arrived for a Christmas respite visit.

Although the group were not born when the Chernobyl nuclear disaster happened in 1986, they are among the many still living with its effects.

Voluntary CEO of the Chernobyl Children’s International charity Adi Roche said the young people "many of whom suffer from genetic disorders and congenital disabilities, come from some of the areas worst affected by radiation from world's worst nuclear disaster".

They have come to take part in a two week Rest and Recuperation programme with volunteer host families in nine counties across Ireland.

There was a special Christmas present for Igor Shadzkou who has just turned 18.

A new wheelchair was waiting for him at Dublin Airport as Igor has outgrown his old chair and was suffering injuries to his feet and legs when he tried to use it.

Igor, who lives in an institution in a remote rural part of Belarus, has been coming to Ireland twice a year for the last ten years to stay with Cox family in Castlebar, Co Mayo.

The Chernobyl group will visit Áras an Uachtaráin tomorrow to meet President Michael D Higgins, and Ms Roche thanked him for the honour.

She also paid tribute to the host families and volunteers who have made a huge difference to the lives of three generations of children who have suffered and continue to suffer the effects of the Chernobyl disaster.