Syrian refugees get warm welcome from church leaders

Rev Dr Robert Buick
Rev Dr Robert Buick

The arrival of a second group of Syrian refugees in Northern Ireland has been welcomed by church leaders.

The 57 refugees – including 14 families and 20 children – arrived in Belfast on Thursday morning.

One family is settling in Belfast and the rest in Londonderry.

All underwent security screening and are given housing, healthcare, education and they can work.

Church leaders in Londonderry gave them warm welcomes.

Clerk of the Church’s Presbytery of Derry and Donegal, Rev Robert Buick, said that “the prayers of our people will be that they will experience a friendly welcome among us, and find in this area a place of healing and rest”.

Bishop of Derry Donal McKeown said: “I think we’ve really all been moved by the terrible destruction that’s gone on in Syria and in the wider Middle East region.”

Church of Ireland Bishop for Derry and Raphoe Ken Good added: “These lives have been thrown upside down, the catastrophe that has befallen so many of these families.”

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said their arrival is a positive statement that Northern Ireland people “are compassionate, welcoming and ready to meet our global responsibilities”.

None of those who arrived in December have yet found employment.