Mid Ulster District Council has expressed its concern at the unfolding refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe and pledged to take action to help with the relief efforts.
The Council held a special meeting last night (Thursday 10th September) to discuss the plight of the thousands of people fleeing war-torn Syria as well as other countries in conflict, and called upon the British and Irish governments, as well as the European Union Commission, to do more to address the humanitarian crisis.
“While the spotlight has been turned on Syria after the horrifying images we have all witnessed in the media, since the beginning of 2015, more than 300,000 thousand people have made treacherous journeys across the Mediterranean from countries like Syria, but also Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan, seeking safety in Europe. That’s not counting the hundreds of thousands who have fled across borders to their neighbouring countries and who are now safe, but in need of aid,” said Councillor Linda Dillon, Chair of the Council. “We all have a duty to respond and the people of Mid Ulster have done so generously, as they always do, and anything which we as a Council do will compliment this good work. I am supporting a fundraising event for the Red Cross in Syria on 29th October in the Glenavon and would encourage everyone to support events which are being held right across the district”.
Vice Chair of the Council, Councillor Kim Ashton, praised the efforts of local people:
“Community and voluntary groups, churches and individuals across Mid Ulster have responded to the crisis with donations of food, clothes and much-needed funds for those agencies which are working urgently on the ground to alleviate suffering. We may be geographically removed from the situation, but our compassion is not reduced by the distance and I commend all those who are contributing to the refugee campaign”.
The Council will meet again next week (Thursday 17th September) to consider the practical actions it can take to contribute to the relief effort.