Why did the ‘Candle of Grace’ Charity Traffic Fifty Nine Ukrainian Children Into Ireland?

On the 11th May 2022 the ‘Candle of Grace’ charity flew a group of 113 Ukrainians to Dublin Airport from Poland. The group included 59 children who were travelling alone, without any parental or family supervision.


While there is absolutely no evidence of any intentional illegality or mal-intent by the ‘Candle of Grace’ charity, the inconsistencies articulated by the charity’s founder in relation to the facts on the ground in Ukraine, her reasoning for bypassing the normal process, and the involvement of a convicted criminal in the affair, merit further examination of the incident.

You can watch the fourteen minute Prime Time segment here. If you haven’t seen it, pay attention to the performance of RTE’s Fran McNulty in the second part, when he asks the chair of Ireland’s Children’s right’s alliance, ‘who are you to question’ what’s happening with these children (from 11 minutes on). It’s almost unbelievable that he asked such a question given the position of the woman he is talking to. Note that when the idea of repatriating the children is brought up, his body language clearly changes, and he then talks over the interviewee who is advocating for the children to be re-united with their families (from 11 minutes, 30 seconds).

The facts are that the Irish state’s Child & Family Agency TUSLA, which is tasked with processing any Ukrainian refugees arriving in Ireland from Ukraine, were not informed in advance of the charity’s plans to transport these children. Nor were the Department of Foreign affairs. We know that the airline Ryanair subsidised the flight, and presumably they assumed that everything was being done legally by the trip’s organisers. According to the RTE Prime Time video report, the local authorities in Mayo – where the children are currently being housed (a three hour drive from Dublin airport) – were apparently informed of the plans by Luzan but didn’t think to check in with TUSLA or the department of Foreign affairs before agreeing. Which is odd.

As far as we know, no one outside of the organising party and the local Mayo authorities knew that fifty nine children were being flown to Ireland without Government authorisation and without either of their parents.

The Irish state broadcaster RTE picked up the story that day, and followed up with several reports on general background, and another report on May 20th addressing criticisms that the charity has faced.

RTE Story link 11 May 2020 | Candle Of Grace Facebook page
Images link to image files.
Who Are Candle Of Grace?

The name of the woman who brought the children into Ireland without their parents is Lily Luzan. Luzan is a Belorussian who came to Ireland in 2008, who has been involved in bringing women and minors into Ireland since at least 2016, when the charity ‘Candle of Grace’ was founded. Here’s an example of the type of thing they do from 2017, found on their Facebook page.

As you can see, despite the increased awareness around images of children and their privacy online, Luzan and ‘Charity of Grace’ felt it was necessary to display a picture of each and every child that had travelled with the 2017 cohort…along with having them ‘perform’ for unnamed locals. The children’s faces have been blurred by Freepress.ie – Candle of Grace did not blur their faces in any of the 23 images in the linked Facebook post. This parade of children’s images posted online for no apparent reason is unusual… when one group-photo would surely have sufficed.

For her latest initiative on May 10th, Luzan seems to have inexplicably gone on a solo-run, deciding to bring the 59 children into the country under the radar, despite having had the full backing and support of all Irish state and local agencies previously. Luzan is also being aided in her efforts by one ‘Professor Yury Bandazhevsky’, who spent several years in prison in Belarus for bribery and document falsification charges – more on that below.

Why Did Candle Of Grace Not Go Through The Proper Channels?

In recent months the Irish Government has very publicly stated that the number of Ukrainian refugees allowed to enter the country is now ‘uncapped’, revised from a previous figure of 200,000.

Link to irishtimes story April 24th 2020 (Independent was March 22)

The reality is that all Irish Government agencies have given unwavering and explicit support to the idea of bringing hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians to Ireland.

Why then did Luzan feel she needed to bring these children in without notifying Irish state agencies and without following proper procedure, and without ensuring they had proper parental supervision?

Why did she separate these children from their support networks and families in such a secretive manner? Freepress.ie are not the only ones asking these questions, and since the children arrived the Irish State communications unit RTE have further addressed the muted online uproar with a report on the 20th of May. Strangely, at the beginning of that report, Fran McNulty felt the need to set the tone of the piece, mentioning ‘peaceful quiet countryside’ and children’s ‘shouts of joy’ in his first paragraph. It’s almost as if Fran was trying to immediately distract readers from the serious concerns of the public surrounding Luzan’s actions. As mentioned, if you watch his performance towards the end of the Prime Time report he seems ‘partial’ on whether the children should return home. RTE-bod Fran seems to want these kids to stay here, away from their families.

In the RTE Prime Time report, Luzan gives several reasons for doing what she did. Let’s take a look at each one of her excuses on their merits.

Images taken from May 20th RTE follow-up “we did nothing wrong” report

1. Luzan tells us that ‘it was an emergency’ and that ‘there was no time’. However, the Associated Press & Washington Post reported (below) on April 1st (six weeks before the flight from Poland to Dublin) that Russian troops had withdrawn from Chernobyl, and that “all technological equipment at the plant, and systems for monitoring radiation were ‘working normally’ and that radiation levels were normal.

If these children did indeed come from this area (we don’t know), then there was no emergency where they lived, and there was lots of time. The Irish Government have also been more than willing to accommodate anyone fleeing the conflict when processed through the proper channels. If the parents of these children were willing to let their children go, then what was the sudden emergency that meant Luzan felt she needed to take such an unnecessary risk, bypassing the normal open immigration channels?

These are not rational actions.

Link to Washington Post Story, April 1 2022, showing the Russians were long gone from the area, and radiation levels were normal

2. The hotel manager McHugh references ‘children here with no parents’.  Clearly no RTE-state media asked any follow up questions regarding the parents, when the separation of these children from their parents is arguably the most important issue for the public. RTE are almost implying here that these children have no parents to further muddy the waters. Why is the question about the children’s parents not put to Luzan, the woman who took these children, by Fran McNulty? The editing here makes it seem like the question was asked when it clearly wasn’t. This is deliberately misleading the public. Maybe it’s pure incompetence.

3. ‘She said that, due to the risk involved, only a very small number of people were told about her plans’. We must ask, what was the risk in informing people of their plans as per the normal procedures? The same RTE report states the children were flown out of Poland and not Ukraine. Were the children in some sort of danger in Poland? If the children had parental permission, what was the need for secrecy? Who would have been trying to stop the children leaving from Ukrainian controlled territory? Let alone Polish territory? The Irish Government have refugee numbers uncapped, so there was zero risk that they would be refused entry once the proper procedures were followed. Given Luzan’s past in bringing in other groups of children, and her having established networks of people in Ireland taking the children from her, why did she do it secretly? None of her rationale here adds up.

Why the secrecy if the flight was from Poland where they were safe? There are also no bombs going off in Poland – the conflict remains in Eastern Ukraine. This one fact contradicts much of what Luzan & RTE presented as acceptable. From main RTE follow-up story May 20th

4. Luzan then says “I would never have forgiven myself if they were bombed on the way out”. If the children were in Poland, what exactly was the risk of them being bombed on the way out? If they were near Chernobyl there was also no risk, as all conflict had ceased six weeks prior per the Washington post report above, and any fighting is now hundreds of miles away.

Mariupol & Donbass are 1000 kilometres from Chernobyl. Kiev is just 100 km from Chernobyl in a straight south line, so it a relatively safe area. Kiev was visited days before the flight by Bono (where he played a gig), and the Irish Ceann Comhairle (speaker of the house) along with various world leaders who visited in April and the first week of May. Why did Lily Luzan think the children were about to be bombed?

5. Luzan then referenced the past and Irish emigration, which was completely irrelevant to the discussion, dodging the question with an emotional appeal for the public to identify with these children. This was never an issue, the goodwill towards the people of Ukraine and Russia in Ireland is strong, particularly for young children. She would know that there is no sell required here. If the children were dying to get back as Luzan says, then why take them in the first place from their families?

6. Luzan says “Ukraine wouldn’t let them leave the country if something was wrong”. Then why not fly them from Ukraine instead of Poland? Why all the secrecy? Why not follow the proper procedures? We must ask who has vetted these documents and who has vetted the people saying that they are the parents of these children. The charity could have been duped. Were their supposed documented parents their actual parents? The RTE Prime Time report says that TUSLA has contacted all of the children’s parents and is satisfied they gave permission.

How on earth have TUSLA managed to do this vetting process adequately in a supposed warzone, in less than nine days, in a country apparently at war, where one of Luzan’s helpers has said on the PrimeTime report that her house was bombed into oblivion? Whether this story is true or not, a thorough vetting process of 59 children’s families is simply impossible in this time frame. How can TUSLA be so satisfied? Who ran these checks?

Can TUSLA be trusted? For more on TUSLA, here is a recently produced documentary about what TUSLA has done in illegally removing Irish children from Irish homes.

The Government and administration of Ukraine is in disarray and it has been high on UN human trafficking and corruption leader boards for over a decade. Document forgery of Ukrainian passports is rife: they’ve even been mass produced in Ireland (as reported by the SundayWorld, even as far back as 2015 a murdered US teen bought a Ukranian passport from Northern Irish criminals).

7. For number seven, there are so many inconsistencies from Luzan. As per the Washington post article above, radiation levels were completely normal on April first, and any conflict has long-since left the region. Here Luzan is caught in a clear inconsistency, because she said some of her reasons for taking the children were to avoid radiation and bombing. There was also no shelling around the plant during the conflict (there is also a huge exclusion zone around the Chernobyl plant – so no-one lives there). If things were so urgent and they were in such serious danger of being bombed, why take them from their families and support networks six weeks after all regional conflict had ended? Why take them from those who would be guaranteed to keep them safe? Why is she continually referencing bombing when she flew the children out of Poland to get to Ireland, indicating they were already safe? Why did Luzan not keep them close to their families by staying in the safety of Poland? Why fly them all the way to Mayo? None of Luzan’s statements add up to anything approaching valid reasoning for circumventing protocols that she was fully aware of – protocols she has navigated many times before in bringing women and children to Ireland.

Where Does Professor Yury Bandazhevsky Fit In?

The initial RTE report outlines how the children will be ‘treated’ by one Professor Yury Bandazhevsky, who apparently works on radiation sickness. According to the Irish Mirror, he arrived on Thursday the 14th of April, leaving all the children behind. This seems to be his first trip to Mayo and he now seems to have plans to open up a radiation centre in Mayo (of all places). Apparently he left Belarus because of elevated radiation levels but you can see above from mainstream sources that radiation levels were perfectly normal around Chernobyl. This story does not check out.

Interestingly this man was mentioned in the first May 11th RTE report when the children had just arrived. Amazing that RTE knew all this on the day they were trying to find out what was going on, and the children were still in the airport.

In June 2001 Bandazhevsky was sentenced to eight years in prison in Belarus for taking bribes while running a school. You won’t be told that in the latest Irishtimes, RTE, and Irish Mirror puff-pieces around the incident, that seem to be more like PR exercises for the parties involves rather than any serious examination of their actions.

Bandazhevsky was also convicted of falsifying documents to escape trial. During his eighteen month trial process, he alleged that he was being persecuted for his anti-Government reporting and work with children in the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster, which had happened fourteen years previously. His defence was noted by a UN Human rights session in 2006 which advocated on his behalf, stating that the charges had been part of a targeted campaign against him.

For context here it is important to note that on the 26th of January 2000 Belarus had signed a supranational Union state agreement with Russia. The UN & Amnesty international can sometimes take up the causes of Russian-bloc prisoners with international profile to score political points against Russia.

While the author personally finds Bandazhevsky’s defence dubious (if he was causing the Belorussian government so many problems then why did they wait fourteen years after Chernobyl happened in 1986 to stich him up?), his conviction is relevant to this Charity Of Grace case: he is now a de facto convicted criminal involved in narrative creation regarding the trafficking of fifty-nine unaccompanied minors to Ireland without any legal authorisation or parental involvement.

Why is Bandazhevsky suddenly here now? Why didn’t he leave when the Russians were in Chernobyl six weeks ago? Why did he wait two weeks? Or why not come after his release ten years ago? And what about the children left behind in Ukraine, many more than fifty-nine no doubt.  Who will help them now that he has left? Is that region not a better place to study radiation issues? Why is a radiation treatment centre being set up in Mayo? Why not in Poland or any other country close to Ukraine where children can travel with their families and guardians??

We now have a man convicted of bribery involving children, and of falsifying documents, at the centre of this new Irish controversy. A controversy that amounts to a definitely illegal orchestrated extraction of Ukrainian & Belorussian children from Poland to Ireland in bizarre and unexplained circumstances – whatever the underlying motivations were.

Parallels with the 2010 Laura Silsby Haiti Case

The act of taking children from a wartime or destabilised environment without Governmental permission has resulted in convictions in the past. In 2010, after the massive earthquake that reduced Haiti to rubble, a woman named Laura Silsby was arrested at the Haitian border attempting to smuggle a cash crop of 33 children out of the country, without Government documentation, authorisation, or permission from the parents.

Her sentence and charges were reduced after an intervention by none other than Bill Clinton. This tweet from 2020 had huge engagement.

A bizarre interest was taken by Hillary Clinton in the children under Silsby’s influence all the way back to 2001, nine years before the earthquake. You can delve deeper into that here, with links to Hillary Clinton’s emails, Reddit research, & legacy media stories of the time.

Many of our readers will know what this all means.

In the aftermath of Silsby’s arrest, her originally retained lawyer Jorge Puello was arrested and imprisoned in connection with an international human trafficking ring focused on women and minors from Central America and Haiti.

This is clear precedent that should inform the subject of this report. It would be remiss of the Irish public to let the actions of the ‘Candle Of Grace’ charity go un-investigated given the inconsistencies of the story.

While there is no evidence that any of the above is linked to anything illegal (beyond the illegal and immoral transport of children across international borders without permission), the lives of children could be at stake here given the circumstances.

Candle Of Grace’s Facebook Logo

Then there’s the unfortunate Candle Of Grace Facebook logo. You can see it for yourself here.

This could be co-incidental and the result of an innocent editing mistake…but on the chance that there is something to investigate here, the similarities should be placed in the Detective’s investigation file, and not ignored.


On May 11th 2022 fifty-nine children were taken from their homes in bizarre circumstances that defy all logic, transported to Poland, and then illegally flown to Ireland by a woman who had no reason to take the courses of action that she did. She had no permission from any Government to do what she did. Upon arrival, the Irish immigration services raised concerns and tried to accommodate the children while trying to figure out exactly what had happened.

There are a series of red flags here that are possibly greater than the sum of their parts. The Irish Police (Gardai) must take steps to ensure the EU directive on Human Trafficking wasn’t broken. Here it is linked Gardai, in case you can’t find it.

Article 10 (b) provides a clear path for local prosecutions if any laws have been broken and if this isn’t all some innocent mistake (by someone who fully knew the proper procedures, having gone through them previously with other groups of women and children and despite all of the support being available from the Irish Government).

Real questions have to be asked why this happened and what is going on. Was someone worried that their documentation and backstory wouldn’t pass the sniff test had they been examined locally or gone through the correct vetting channels? Were they afraid that Polish & Ukrainian authorities would not allow children to be separated from their parents? Why is the criminal professor so involved? Is the entire affair a setup to give him the local Irish support to establish himself here? Is this an anchor move to establish more regular movement of children across borders and away from their parents? Are the charity founders themselves acting under duress? (this is a distinct possibility – human trafficking is a trillion dollar business and the women involved could be in fear for their lives at the hands of organised crime). Is there a wider local Irish network involved in something sinister here? Any number of possibilities are in play.

Given the amount of inconsistencies, every child or female adult placed through this charity into any foster home or employment in this country since 2016 needs to be accounted for and interviewed, and all operations of the charity with respect to transporting children must be suspended now, pending a full and transparent investigation. Investigators must be sent to interrogate each provided familial link in the Ukraine and Belarus for authenticity, and neighbours of the children must also be interviewed in the associated area to verify backstories because any provided links could simply be human traffickers posing as parents in a conflict-affected area.

The people in TUSLA who said they vetted the families of 59 children in nine days must also be investigated, as must any organisations or bodies involved with Candle of Graces activities in the region. RTE’s editorial line needs to be considered also.

Remember, Luzan didn’t fly these kids out of a warzone with bombs going off around them, she flew them out of Poland. The border of Poland is over 500 kilometers to the West of Chernobyl. She had time to go through the proper channels. Yet she didn’t.

If you are a serving Garda or Irish Government employee, and if the first Facebook link/images from the 2017 group doesn’t fill you with a deep sense of unease, where each of the children were paraded like a items in a shop window, posing in individual images on a stage in Castlebar, then you should have a long hard look at yourself.

Can you think of any good and genuine reason for posting up that series of individual images? In light of the litany of glaring inconsistencies outlined above?

I can’t. In my humble opinion there is something much bigger going on here.

If this report resonates with you please help to share it on and off social media and into your wider network, and with your elected representatives and local media outlets. IT is crucial that it sees as wide an audience as possible. Freepress.ie has no social media. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are useful places to start.

Thank you for your support.

Other reports from FREEPRESS.iE…

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Michael J. Sullivan

Michael J. Sullivan

Absolutely sick of it.

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