On Sunday 08 October, at 22:25pm, RTE will air an in-depth discussion between Adi Roche and Joe Duffy, as part of the 17th season of ‘The Meaning of Life’.
Hailing from Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, Roche is the founder and Voluntary CEO of the Chernobyl Children International (CCI) charity, which has provided over €108 million worth of humanitarian aid and support to the people devastated by the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine.
Roche’s and Duffy’s emotional and revealing interview was appropriately filmed at St Brigid’s Cathedral in Kildare, as Roche considers the patron Saint one of the greatest guiding influences in her life and spirituality.
Speaking ahead of the show airing, Roche commented;
“It was quite emotional for me to revisit moments of my life and the people in my life, which have shaped me as a person.”
For over 40 years Adi has been passionately campaigning for, and is publicly active in, issues relating to the environment, peace and social justice.
Adi grew up in Clonmel, Co Tipperary born of Cork parents, with a big social conscience and a strong sense of active citizenship which was instilled in her by her parents from a very young age. Her family was committed to social justice issues creating in Adi a lifelong passion for helping others and achieving change. Adi started working in the immediate aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 to provide support to children living in the affected areas. She formally founded Chernobyl Children International (CCI) in 1991 to develop programmes that restore hope, alleviate suffering and protect current and future generations in the Chernobyl regions.
CCI was founded on hope and courage: the hope that the children—one by one and heartbeat by heartbeat—will thrive; and the courage to envision and create a better world. The charity’s work adapted nimbly and quickly to unprecedented challenges over the past few years, including the Global Pandemic and the War in Ukraine, where the charity’s Paediatric Cardiac Missions are based.
On the 30th Anniversary of Chernobyl in 2016, Adi gave a landmark address to the UN General Assembly in New York. In an unprecedented move the Belarusian UN delegation provided Adi with their speaking time at the General Assembly discussion on Chernobyl in recognition of the international role Ireland and Chernobyl Children International has played in helping the victims of the Chernobyl catastrophe. It was the first time an ordinary person (non-diplomat/non-political person) has been extended the honour of speaking at the UN General Assembly during a country’s allocated time.
As a direct result of Adi’s address the United Nations declared that 26 April be recognized forevermore as “International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day”.
As well as Adi’s Chernobyl related work, ‘The Meaning of Life’ also delves into other chapters of Roche’s life, including the 1997 Presidential Campaign and the life-long impact of Adi’s brother, Donal De Roiste being wrongfully dismissed from the Irish Army in the 1960’s. Donal received a state-apology in December 2022, following an appeal that lasted over 50 years.