Friday 9 December 2016

True heroes of our time are those helping migrants

Published 01/08/2015 | 02:30

Crew members from the Irish Navy vessel LE Eithne rescue migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean
Crew members from the Irish Navy vessel LE Eithne rescue migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean

Ireland has so far agreed to resettle 600 migrants in the next two years. This is in sheer contrast to the 130,000 being resettled by Germany. We can, of course, use the economic crisis excuse, but I feel this is unacceptable. Many of the migrants fleeing persecution and war in their home countries had jobs and a good education; it is these people who wish to contribute and be full participants of our society. The recent situation unfolding in Calais clearly should send alarm bells to the Irish Government that our collective response as a country fails remarkably.

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Less than 70 years ago, a brave man named Nicholas Winton helped to rescue 669 children on the eve of World War II from religious persecution. When world leaders and the powerful turned their backs, it was this man's extraordinary actions that gave those innocent people hope during a dark time.

While we hear constantly of the measures (including water cannon, batons and pepper spray) of keeping the migrants from seeking safety and of the alleged crimes being committed in an attempt, perhaps, to criminalise the entire migrant community, we should be spending more time crediting and supporting those people who are trying to help, feed and care for the migrants and refugees. These people are the true heroes of our time.

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