Search icon


08th Jun 2022

Diarmuid Gavin says welcoming in Ukrainian family “enhanced” his life

Sarah McKenna Barry

“The house is big enough, and we have the room, and they are wonderful people.”

Irish gardener Diarmuid Gavin has said that welcoming a Ukrainian family into his home has “enhanced” his life.

In an interview with The Independent, Diarmuid shared that he has opened the doors of his Wicklow home to a mother and her daughter after they fled Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion.

Marina and her daughter Anna now live with Diarmuid, his partner Justine and their daughter Effie. Marina’s husband has remained in Ukraine.

He told the paper: “The house is big enough, and we have the room, and they are wonderful people, so it’s all a very lovely situation.”

He explained that Marina applied for a job at Trinity College, and they hired her shortly after seeing her CV. He also shared that they go on trips around Wicklow, and that Marina and Anna appreciate its natural beauty.

The celebrity gardener then encouraged others to open their homes to refugees.

“It has only enhanced our lives,” he said. “The whole thing (war) is a horror, what they are going through and for what? It makes you realise what a great little country we live in and how lucky we are.”

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, over 7 million Ukrainians have left the country. It is also estimated that 8 million Ukrainians have been displaced within the country.

As the Irish Times reports, over 33,000 Ukrainian nationals have come to Ireland since the outbreak of war.

Moreover, there are almost 7,000 Ukrainian children enrolled in Irish schools. Figures from earlier this week show that there are about 2,000 Ukrainians in the secondary school system, while the remaining 5,000 are in the primary sector.

Earlier this week, Ireland’s Minister for Education Norma Foley said that there is space to accommodate 25,000 children in Irish primary schools and 20,000 children in the post-primary setting.

Feature image: Leah Farrell/Photocall Ireland.