Fine Gael Roscommon Galway Senator Maura Hopkins has welcomed the arrival of Syrian refugees to the Abbeyfield Hotel, Ballaghaderreen.
Speaking in Ballaghaderreen, Senator Hopkins said, “I met with many of the Syrian people yesterday (Tuesday) after they arrived to the Emergency Reception and Orientation Centre in Ballaghaderreen, it was lovely to see adults and children with happy faces feeling at ease as they settle into their new home for the next number of months”.
Senator Hopkins continued, “There was a warm welcome as the refugees arrived in Ballaghaderreen from Balseskin near Dublin Airport where they had been staying over the past number of weeks. The community in Ballaghaderreen intends to play its part to support these people.
“Since the announcement of the designation of the Abbeyfield Hotel as an Emergency Response and Orientation Centre (EROC) in January, I have been working closely with the Tánaiste and Minster for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald; Minister of State for Justice, David Stanton; and Minister for Health, Simon Harris on the preparations for their arrival.
“A Friends of the Centre Group has been formed which is led by local people. They have been doing a huge amount of positive work and are co-ordinating the volunteer support.
“I have been actively working to ensure that local employment would be created and that local businesses would be supported. Jacqueline Mullen, the operations manager for the EROC has informed me that about twenty local people have been employed and local goods and services will be used as much as possible.
“The Galway Roscommon Education and Training Board have been proactive in terms of recruitment of teachers for the centre. Primary, Secondary and Adult education will initially be provided at the centre along with preschool education.
“There have been issues surrounding the provision of funding for healthcare services for the refugees however further funding was made available in recent weeks. I will be closely monitoring this situation to ensure that additional resources are provided for on the ground, in particular in the areas of health, education and interpretation services, as these needs cannot be met by existing services.”