Politicians pledge to take refugees into own homes, if need be

Naomi Long, former Alliance MP for east Belfast with her husband Michael
Naomi Long, former Alliance MP for east Belfast with her husband Michael

Some politicians have pledged that they will personally open their homes to refugees if they arrive in the Province.

Belfast city councillor Michael Long has said that he and his wife Naomi, the former East Belfast MP, would have “no problem” taking in a Syrian refugee.

He was joined by DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson, who said that such measures may not be necessary if the government makes other accommodation available.

But he added: “The Good Book says we are to show hospitality to the stranger.”

Asked if he would take someone in, Mr Donaldson said he and “many of my constituents” would be willing to do so.

Mr Long said it was clear from the death of Syrian child Aylan Kurdi on Wednesday there is a “major world crisis”.

The Lisnasharragh councillor said: “I think it’s time that people, both here and right around the world, took on the responsibility of trying to sort out the situation and to deal compassionately with those affected.”

Councillor Long said politicians should set an example: “It’s an important way to show compassion to other people and to practically help people, rather than simply just talking about it at times.”

He said the number of refugees Britain has accepted “pales into insignificance” when compared to Germany.

Thousands of people across the UK have pledged practical support, including bringing refugees into their homes, according to charity Citizens UK.