My mother died just before Christmas and was buried on December 23, 2015.
As we walked behind her coffin to the graveyard in Castlebar people who had cared for her with such dignity, love and respect walked with us.
They came to my mothers house to pay their respects and brought with them their lovely memories of my mother and their relationship with her.
My mother despite having dementia lived in her own home up to two years before she died.
Our family like a lot of Mayo families are living in the four corners of Ireland.
She spent her last two years in Cuan Chaitríona a nursing home in Castlebar. She was loved and cared for by many wonderful people from across the world including Burma, the Philippines, and Eastern Europe who have made their homes in Ireland.
I listened with dismay and deep sorrow the racist comments and the failure of a senior politician to challenge that racism. I want to distance myself from that racism.
I am writing this letter to the papers in the North to send a positive message to the people who have made their new lives and homes here.
I want to say you are welcome, I am glad you are here, I welcome your children in our schools and communities.
I love the richness and diversity that your cultures bring.
Thank you for looking after people like my mother with such love. Thank you for attending my grandchild with such professionalism and love when he ends up in hospital.
Thank you for saving my husband’s finger when he ends up in Daisy Hill after a workplace accident.
I am in our communities every day and meet and talk to hundreds of people. I know that the vast majority of people feel like I do.
We want to see celebration of diversity, equality and respect for all.
Caitríona Ruane MLA, Stormont