4 March 2022

RCSI support for the people of Ukraine

Dear Fellows, Members,

In the past week, we have looked on with horror and foreboding at events as they unfold in Ukraine. We have been humbled by the courage of the Ukrainian people in their resistance to Russian aggression and their resolve to live in a free and democratic society.

RCSI has issued an unequivocal public statement in which we strongly condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine and express grave concern about the humanitarian crisis that will inevitably follow.

An Taoiseach said in the Dail this week, "The world has been changed by this unjustified war on Ukraine. Its people have shown such courage in the face of great loss of life and destruction. Ireland’s humanitarian response will not be found wanting.”

RCSI will not be found wanting when opportunities present to be of assistance to the Ukrainian community in Ireland, refugees from the conflict, scholars in distress and treatment of casualties evacuated to Irish hospitals.

RCSI supports the global effort to assist the Ukrainian people. We recognise that this is a time of great distress particularly for those who have family, friends, colleagues and peers in Ukraine. We also recognise the distress of our Russian students and staff, as they witness the impact of these actions and international condemnation of their homeland. RCSI has contacted those students and staff most directly affected to offer support.

Consistent with the European University Association (EUA) guidance, RCSI is reviewing all engagements with Russian Universities and terminating them as appropriate. As RCSI President, I have withdrawn from a commitment to address a surgical conference in Moscow next week.

The RCSI community is anxious to support the people of Ukraine in every way possible. To optimise our impact, we need to understand the most effective way to engage by working through organisations actively engaged in Ukraine. Therefore, RCSI will maintain contact with the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Irish Red Cross and UNICEF regarding requirements for potential healthcare staff volunteers and how RCSI can assist in establishing specialist care facilities for victims of conflict.

As a member of EUA, RCSI is committed to engaging with Ukrainian member universities to establish their needs and to provide whatever assistance we can. If the situation stabilizes to the point that Ukrainian Universities can open, RCSI will seek to link with an established University in Ukraine to assist re-building healthcare programmes.

On 3 March, 123 St Stephen’s Green was lit in the national colors of Ukraine. Fellows, Members and Alumni are invited to reflect on this moment of crisis and existential threat to our way of life and to consider donating to one of the several international agencies providing support to the victims of conflict.

With kind regards,

Professor P. Ronan O'Connell
President, RCSI