Always Something New At Greater Chernobyl Cause Shop In Carrigaline
Updated: Jun 14
Writes Leo McMahon
A charity shop with a difference. That’s the Greater Chernobyl Cause (GCC) outlet at Main Street, Carrigaline (next to Phelan’s Pharmacy) because everything on sale there is new.
‘We opened in October 2020 but due to the Coronavirus crisis, operated for about only six weeks. However, leading up to Christmas we had a thriving trade,’ said founder of GCC and proprietor Fiona Corcoran from Fountainstown, ‘so it was great to greet customers once again on May 17th’.
‘All items in our store are at rock bottom prices and feature some of the top names in fashion, footwear, household items, jewellery, crafts, leisure goods and much more’, said Fiona who gave us a tour of the extensive store.
‘During these challenging times, many people can’t afford to give us money so we depend more than ever on donations from companies through a percentage of their stock such as clothing, shoes and other goods or services such as transportation to our stores in Carrigaline and Merchants Quay Shopping Centre in Cork’
Fiona gave us a tour of the extensive premises which includes:
Boutique quality and bespoke dresses, tops and blouses for all occasions or daily wear (Isabella, Carla Ruiz, Daisy May and others) in all styles and sizes.
Peter Bettley of London and other brands of ladies’ fascinators and hats (Hanna).
A wide selection of shoes including Karen Koo, Marian and Susst.
Wedding and Holy Communion dresses (Isabella), some ‘pre-loved’.
Shelves of very popular mens’ jumpers.
Mens’, ladies’ and childrens’ designer and comfort shoes and runners.
Sloopy Joe, Jack Jones and other smart casual wear plus rugby shirts and hoodies, popular among younger customers.
A baby/toddler section featuring dresses, baby-grows, jigsaws, toys and transfers.
An impressive range of mostly Irish crafted jewellery including Cathy Prendergast, Celine Traynor, Waterford Crystal, Connemara Marble, Genesis, Kilkenny Silver, Belleza, Brian de Stack and Trinity and Co.
Greeting cards, CDs, DVDs, pictures and general and school books at unbeatable value.
Religious goods such as Confirmation crosses and those in season (e.g. Christmas, Easter).
An Irish souvenirs section.
‘Some of the designer dresses on the rails were originally priced over €400 and now sell for only €50 while jumpers and shoes, some previously costing over €100, are now only €10 and remember, everything is brand new !’, said Fiona.
A new aspect of the GCC shop in Carrigaline is furniture. ‘This began because of Covid. There was no ‘click and collect’ for our store so I sourced furniture I spotted on social media which we got for free for selling on. She pointed to a sofa due to have a home in Drinagh and a piano donated by a household in Carrigaline. A chest of drawers. lamp shades, Franz candlesticks, pictures and other household items were on view at the rear of the. New and used furniture donations are welcome said Fiona, who paid tribute to local Transition Year students who have painted a set of pine chairs into more fashionable grey thereby ensuring that everyone plays a part in re-using and upcycling goods.
‘Following on the success of Christmas craft fairs and pop-up shops and the unit that GCC opened in Cork five years ago, I always felt from commuting via Carrigaline, that there was potential for another charity shop in the town and in 2020, this premises became available,’ said the Fountainstown resident.
‘The need became more urgent when the Covid crisis made it impossible to hold vital annual fund raisers in Ireland for our ongoing work in the former Soviet Union, such as our golf classic, International Women’s Day lunch, auction and craft fairs. With our shops reopened, we’re hoping to sell hampers online for Father’s Day on June 20th and a wedding dress promotion in the autumn.
The GCC Carrigaline shop is open, Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5.30pm and on Sunday from 12.30 to 5pm. Further information plus special offers on Facebook.
‘We currently need more volunteers who will get full training . Shifts are usually four hours per week but anyone interested should come in and have a chat to see what suits him or her best, email email@example.com or phone 087 9536133.
Fiona paid tribute to her team saying that, without them they shop would not be the success. She also thanked her landlord, the many suppliers throughout Co Cork and Ireland, donors, sponsors, Carrigaline and Crosshaven TY students and their teachers, Conor Phelan, the local charity shops and businesses, the media and especially all the customers.
Message from Fiona Corcoran Of Greater Chernobyl Cause
Writes Leo McMahon
‘Every child deserves a childhood, every adult a healthy life’, says Fiona Corcoran from Fountainstown, founder of Great Chernobyl Cause (GCC) which, for around 20 years has been working to save and improve lives in Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan.
The charity began as a response to the world's worst nuclear disaster in Ukraine (which it commemorates annually at at a memorial in Bishop Lucey Park, Cork) but has now widened its mission to concentrate on the human casualties of the break-up of the former Soviet Union.
‘Our first office with a computer, thanks to the late Pat McGrath and our first chairperson (who sadly passed away in 2020) was just off the North Mall in the city, after which we moved to Togher’, said Fiona. who pointed out that GCC works closely with the Probation Service and many marginalised groups but also with TY students from schools across the country and locally in Carrigaline and Crosshaven.
Projects include or have included:
Supporting the operation of its hospice for the elderly in Ivanskoye, Kostroma Oblatz, Russia, funded at a cost of €50,000 per annum.
Support teams and renovations at an orphanage in Ayagoz, Kazakhstan.
Recent building of a new hospital in Semipalatinsk, Kazkhstan in an area devastated by former USSR nuclear testing and now also being used for Covid patients.
Providing temporary residential care and support for extremely vulnerable mothers and children in Semipalatinsk.
Shipping humanitarian aid, organizing food programmes and supplying vital medical equipment.
‘All this has been possible thanks to the enormous generosity of people who responded so willingly to appalling situations that had been overlooked and to voices that had too often been silenced,’ said Fiona. ‘Thankfully, the mortality rate has fallen dramatically. We have kitchens where nutritious meals are prepared, sleeping and living quarters where one can sleep and rest in beautiful and warm surroundings, a gym where for exercise, a school where teachers provide a basic education and a clinic where doctors and therapists attend to very real medical needs. Click on to https://vimeo.com/140168449 to see how we’re able to change the world of our abandoned people and see our local supporters speak about their involvement.’
On behalf of GCC, Fiona has received prestigious national awards from Ireland, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and also in person from President Putin in Russia. Asked what has motivated her over the years, she replied ‘I grew up in a family very much steeped in socialism and Christian giving and the values instilled by my mother Maire and my late father Eamon Corcoran but I wish to stress that what has been achieved is down to a team effort’.
‘We are now in unprecedented times. From nation to nation, town to town and street to street, the battle to keep safe in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic is consuming all our energy and willpower. Everything else, it seems, has been banished to the back burner. It would be all too easy for our charity, whose tireless work has changed the lives of thousands of children and adults so many miles from home, to turn a blind eye to the ongoing challenges and walk away content with all that it has done but we won’t. Our charity slogan that ‘every child deserves a childhood and every adult deserves a healthy life’, has been the driving force in turning shambolic orphanages and hospices described as living hell holes into new homes .’
Expressing sincere thanks for the support it has received to date and to every one of her team workers, Fiona said that along with its shops in Carrigaline and Cork, the GCC office and store is at Unit 2, Southside Industrial Estate, Pouladuff Road, Cork, Tel 021-4323276 or 087 9536133, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Volunteers, donations, goods and fund raising ideas welcome. Funds, she added, are desperately needed.