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Everyone was touched by this Roscommon woman's thoughts on Syrian refugees

“How could you say no?”

ary Source: RTÉ Player

MUCH HAS BEEN made of the decision to settle Syrian refugees in the Roscommon town of Ballaghaderreen.

Last night, Prime Time discussed the issue in depth and spoke to locals about what they made of the plan, the majority of whom welcome the refugees.

One of the locals they spoke to was Mary Gallagher, who has run a clothes shop and haberdashery in the town for more than 40 years.

mar Source: RTÉ Player

Gallagher explained that she felt Irish people had a duty to help refugees.

We were brought up to think that if somebody was needy — I’m not talking about someone who just come to work and they’re alright, they’re okay, they’ve money coming in every week. But it somebody is needy and they were driven out of their homes and you see a child being picked up in Aleppo out of the clay, how could you say no?
How could you say no? You’d be betraying every single thing that we ourselves came from.

And while she acknowledged people’s fears about integration, she said that it was our responsibility to “make the right decision”.

You think of the people fleeing, drowning, all the different thing that happened these refugees and you have to sort of make the right decision.

Her compassion and empathy struck a chord with many taking to social media to praise her for her remarks.

(If you can’t see the video, please click here.)

She was described as “open-hearted” and the “best of Ireland”.

Amnesty International’s Colm O’Gorman praised the whole town of Ballaghaderreen for welcoming the Syrians with open arms.


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Amy O'Connor

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