With a vast number of Ukrainians now resident in Athlone, the country's International Independence Day was acknowledged and celebrated in St Mary’s Hall on Wednesday evening where an attendance of some 230 people were entertained with excellent music, singing, dance, art and culture.
Local Fianna Fáil Councillor, Frankie Keena, was in attendance at the cultural occasion and he lauded the cohesive efforts of those who enabled the concert to take place.
"This event was a joint effort that was organised by both Ukrainians and Irish people, supported by local, Polish and African performers. The concert was excellently produced by Tetiana Donchenko who was supported by a marvellous team.
"This was a multi-cultural concert featuring top class performers and in addition the sound system was provided by Polish national Jarek, while the videography was kindly conducted by Slavek from the Midlands Polish community.
"The work that was put into organising this concert by all involved was tremendous and people with various skills kindly made costumes, conducted choreography, sang, painted, while many more enabled stage performance. The atmosphere was electric with top class entertainment on offer.
"During the concert a time capsule was launched and those in attendance were asked to write their wish on a sheet of paper. The time capsule was then passed to the care of Paddy Beaumont. This is going to be opened in 10 years time and hopefully there will be peace in Ukraine long before then.
"St Mary’s Hall was transformed into a sea of colour for the event with Irish and Ukrainian flags and indeed bunting everywhere to be seen. The work put in by Paddy Beaumont in organising the hall and making sure everyone was comfortable was excellent," Cllr Keena asserted.
Cllr Frankie Keena expressed his gratitude to all involved for organising such an amazing concert.
"It was great to see so many people in attendance showing solidarity to Ukraine. I also wish to express my gratitude to both Gateway and Foroige for their respective assistance and Westmeath County Council Arts Office for its generous support of the concert," Cllr Keena stated.
The event culminated with a presentation made by Mayor Vinny McCormack to the Ukrainian community on behalf of the Municipal District of Athlone-Moate to mark Ukraine Independence Day.