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Yulia Liventsova: I am happy because I do what I love




By Natalya Krasnenkova

In her 47 years Yulia Liventsova has twice fled from war. Living in Europe in the 21st century, she was again forced to leave her home, hastily collect things, go into the unknown and start her life over.

Yulia comes from Donetsk, the east of Ukraine. In 2014, when the city was taken over by pro-Russian militants, who set up the Donetsk People's Republic there, she urgently left for Odessa with her husband and pregnant daughter.

The whole life of the family fit in the trunk of a small car.

In the southern city near the Black Sea, Yulia began a new life. She is a cook by profession and in Odessa, she worked in a restaurant as a chef.

From February 24, since the beginning of Russia's military invasion of Ukraine, her restaurant has started preparing free lunches for the Ukrainian military. Yulia Liventsova spent many hours in the kitchen to feed our soldiers.

And when the Russian army occupied the neighbouring city of Kherson (now under Russian occupation), Russia began firing rockets from their ships located in the Black Sea, targeting Odessa. Yulia’s husband made an important decision; he put his wife, daughter and granddaughter in the car to take them to the border with Moldova.

"You have to go to save the child and the granddaughter, and I will stay here to help your old mother," he said.

And Yulia left. For a month they lived with acquaintances in the vineyard, and then moved to Ireland.
Not knowing a word of English, with two T-shirts and two pants in a suitcase - this was the beginning of a new chapter for her life in Ireland.

Yulia is a bright, small and strong woman. She laughs a lot and does a lot for people. There were not enough cooks at the Eviston Hotel where she stayed. Yulia offered her help. Now she is a sous-chef in the restaurant.

"I was ready to work as a volunteer, but in Ireland, everyone who wants to work has this opportunity, even without a good knowledge of the language,” Yulia said.


Her working day is from 9am to noon in the kitchen, then she has a three-hour break. What is she doing at this time? She attends English language courses daily then returns to the kitchen in the afternoon and works until 10pm.

When Julia has a day off, she goes to the pool.

Yes, Yulia is in great physical shape and recently got a new tattoo - the national symbol of Ukraine - a huge trident on her shoulder.

Recently, for the Ukrainian Day at the K-Fest in Killorglin, Yulia organised a day of Ukrainian cuisine. To do this, she gathered a team and spent more than 10 hours in the kitchen to prepare traditional Ukrainian borsch, dumplings and compote. The next day, she welcomed Irish guests with a smile on her face. She really wanted to introduce the Irish to our gastronomic culture. She succeeded.

"How are you feeling now?" I ask Yulia.

"I'm happy. Despite all the difficulties, I can still do what I really love. And I am surrounded by very good people. So yes, I'm happy."

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Five questions to ask yourself before buying a stock

By Michael O’Connor, When it comes to investing, nothing is certain. There are no perfect stocks to buy because there’s no way of predicting the future with 100% accuracy. […]




By Michael O’Connor,

When it comes to investing, nothing is certain.

There are no perfect stocks to buy because there’s no way of predicting the future with 100% accuracy.

The truth is, investing is hard, and building a portfolio of top stocks that beat the market is something that even financial professionals have trouble doing consistently.

For most people, investing in index funds is the perfect hands-off approach, providing broad exposure to the stock market at a very low fee. Even my own personal portfolio is made up of roughly 70% ETFs despite the fact I invest in the market for a living.

But I believe some stock picking is a good strategy for many hands-on people.

Taking a small portion of your overall portfolio and diligently selecting a small number of companies to invest in gives you an opportunity to learn about the investing process and fully understand the businesses you are investing in, which helps to build conviction in your positions.

From a psychological standpoint “collector’s instinct” kicks in, enabling people to participate and invest more money over time.

Lastly, for Irish investors, there are tax benefits to consider. If you invest in individual stocks, you are taxed at the CGT rate of 33%, and the first €1,270 of your gains are exempt from CGT each year. When investing in index funds or ETFs, you are taxed at the exit tax rate of 41% with no annual exemption.

For those interested in picking individual stocks, here are five questions you should ask yourself before investing in any company.

Do I understand the business?

Too many people invest in businesses they don’t understand because it ‘sounds good’. If you have no idea how the company works, you won’t have the conviction needed to hold onto the stock when an inevitable downturn comes.

Can the balance sheet withstand severe, temporary adversity?

This seems obvious, but so many people invest in companies without understanding how much money a company holds and who they owe money to. Economic cycles are guaranteed. You must ensure that the company has enough cash-on-hand to avoid becoming obsolete when activity slows.

Will the company benefit from long-term trends?

Make sure the company will remain relevant into the future. If the stock is cheap now, it may be cheap for a reason.

Is the company enjoying profitable growth?

Not growth at all costs, but a combination of sustainable growth and value. All this information can be found online at sites like

What are the risk factors?

Is the company trying something new and untested? If yes, who are its competitors and how successful are they? If other players are more established, this company may have a tough time breaking into the market.


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Ballyspillane staff open up mental health conversation

By Michelle Crean “Hello, How Are You?” that’s the question staff at Ballyspillane Community Centre will be asking next week as part of a new campaign. It’s all in partnership […]




By Michelle Crean

“Hello, How Are You?” that’s the question staff at Ballyspillane Community Centre will be asking next week as part of a new campaign.

It’s all in partnership with Mental Health Ireland (MHI) and the centre will host an information/coffee morning on Thursday next (March 30) at 12.30pm at their centre and all are welcome to attend.

The campaign initiated by MHI identifies the need for positive engagement and connections with the people around us.

It asks people to engage in open conversations about mental health and prompts us all to ask the question “How Are You?”

The word HELLO is a useful acronym to guide everyone through such conversations, H: Hello, E: Engage positively with the person, L: Listen actively, L: Learn about the person and O: seek options to assist the person if required.

“We all need a listening and compassionate ear sometimes to get us through some challenges in our lives and I think the pandemic has opened a new way of looking at the world, where we can all recognise the challenges that people experience more readily,” Derek O’Leary, Manager of Ballyspillane Community & Family Resource Centre, said.

“Our team here are in the business of supporting families and individuals across the Killarney area and beyond and see the challenges that people face first hand. We also see the positive impact that a caring person can have in such circumstances and this campaign that encourages positive engagement, regarding mental health is a great reminder to us all, the role we can play is assisting others who are struggling.”

Ballyspillane Community & Family Resource Centre provide a suite of support and intervention services including family supports, social prescribing/community connection services and physiotherapeutic services across the Killarney municipal area and beyond.


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