A Polish charity based in Cork has appealed to the Government for funding to allow it to help Ukrainian families arriving at the airport there, in Shannon and by ferry in Rosslare.

Together-Razem said it is already helping Ukrainian people who have fled to Ireland but it needs support from the Government to cope with the increasing numbers.

Olena Ferents fled the western Ukrainian city of Lviv with her nine-year-old daughter Zlata on 26 February, two days after the Russian invasion began.

She flew into Shannon Airport on 4 March after spending several days in Poland but, in the absence of assistance there, she turned to Polish charity Together-Razem which is based in Cork.

Together-Razem helped Olena to unite with her mother in Fermoy. Her daughter Zlata has already started school there.

Speaking with the assistance of interpreter Svetlana Zakharova at the Together-Razem Centre in Cork earlier today, Olena explained the difficult decision she had to make to leave but felt she had no alternative.

She left her husband Sylwestr behind in Lviv. Her father and brother also remained in Ukraine.

"Her husband advised her to leave the country because he was thinking about his daughter. He wanted to save his wife and his daughter," Svetlana explained.

Wojciech Bialek
Wojciech Bialek of the Together-Razem charity

Together-Razem is a Polish charity which has been helping people from Eastern Europe in Cork for the past 16 years. Now it's supporting Ukranian people, but it's appealing for Government funding so it can scale up its efforts.

"We are the bridge between the Ukrainian community and the State keyholders," Wojciech Bialek of Together-Razem explained to RTÉ News. "By helping us, we will help Ireland."

Rally was held in Cork today
A rally in support of Ukraine was held in Cork today

In a statement, the Department of Justice did not address the calls for funding by Together-Razem, but it did say a coordinated response is being put in place by the Government.

This involves providing services and support to Ukrainian people arriving at ports, such as PPS numbers, letters of protection and accommodation.