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Welcome: The Abbas family – Samreen, Huda Badool, Murdaza, Kazim and Syed Haider Abbas – arrived in Ballinamore from Saudi Arabia under direct provision. Photo: Lorraine Teevan

Welcome: The Abbas family – Samreen, Huda Badool, Murdaza, Kazim and Syed Haider Abbas – arrived in Ballinamore from Saudi Arabia under direct provision. Photo: Lorraine Teevan

Welcome: The Abbas family – Samreen, Huda Badool, Murdaza, Kazim and Syed Haider Abbas – arrived in Ballinamore from Saudi Arabia under direct provision. Photo: Lorraine Teevan

A family of five asylum seekers have spoken of the warm welcome they've received in their new home in Ballinamore, Co Leitrim, describing it as "perfect".

The family, originally from Pakistan, had been living in Saudi Arabia for 17 years and came to Ireland late last year. They first arrived in Dublin and spent time living in direct provision in the Riverside Park Hotel in Macroom, Co Cork, before their move to Ballinamore last week.

"What we like about here is we can understand the people, they speak very fast in Cork," said Syed Haider Abbas with a laugh.

Mr Abbas, his wife Samreen and their three children said they feel like "we will be happy here".

The children, aged six, 12 and 15, were able to start school within a week of arriving at the Rock Quarter complex.

"We were just down the town trying to arrange a uniform, but the principal told us they can wear their normal clothes until they get proper uniforms… it's been very welcoming.

"It's quiet here, there is a lot less traffic. It's perfect," Mr Abbas told the Irish Independent.

Speaking outside their new home, the family had just come back from the library where they borrowed books for the children.

Ms Abbas, holding a new pressure cooker, said their new apartment was "very nice".

Each of the fully furnished apartments has a balcony overlooking the Co Leitrim town. A copy of the High Court injunction which ordered named locals to stop protesting at the complex is posted next to the entrance gate to the own-door apartments.

But Mr Abbas says they have experienced nothing but kindness: "No, no, everyone has been very nice. We like it."

Irish Independent