‘Ceád Mile Fáilte’ declares a banner held by a Dublin primary school girl; ‘Put yourself in their Boat’. Hundreds of people gathered by the famine memorial by the River Liffey to declare their support for refugees, and to demand that the Irish Government opens its doors to ‘at least 10000’. A Syria refugee addresses the crowd, close to tears as he reminds us of Ireland’s history of escaping famine, and gently lats a hand on a statue of a desperate father carrying a starving child in 1846.
Memorials, marches and vigils are taking place in Belfast, Waterford, Derry, Cork and many other Irish cities. The latest count on beds in homes offered for refugees is 12,000. ‘The government needs to catch up with the people’, says one of the speakers. A sentiment echoed in villages, cities and communities up and down our islands.