RECENTLY a multi-storey barge arrived in the South of England in preparation for housing approximately 500 migrants. Most of us tend to switch off the television and think this isn't our problem. Closer to home, we have protesters claiming 'Ireland is full' and belongs only to Irish people.
I believe how we treat our neighbours, particularly those most vulnerable and in need, is a good indictor of the health of a nation. Yes, economy, education, employment and so on, are important – but how do we treat the most vulnerable? Are we a compassionate people?
We must remember that refugees are human beings created in the image of God and should be treated with dignity and compassion. Recent Oscar winner, Ke Huy Quan, upon receiving his award shared these very moving words: "My journey started on a boat. I spent a year in a refugee camp. And somehow I ended up here on Hollywood's biggest stage."
Thankfully, his boat wasn't sent back, but instead he was welcomed and given a chance to shine. Refugees are students, refugees are doctors and nurses, refugees are teachers, refugees are business leaders – refugees are people like you and me. The vast majority of claims seeking asylum are accepted and the people deserve to work and flourish in any society. They deserve a home – and we are their home. Ireland isn't full, there is room for all of us.