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By Innocent Iroaganachi.
Ireland, October 29, 2019 (SIGNIS). A few weeks ago, Miltown Malbay, a quiet countryside community in County Clare, in the Republic of Ireland was on the Irish news space for their acts of kindness towards the asylum seekers in their midst.
Most recent of those was the publication referring to the town as “quietly welcoming asylum seekers in their own unique way.” It is important to note that, Miltown’s unique show of love for the all-male asylum seekers in their community, deserves resounding applause. Their exceptional depicting of affection and love towards these men, can be seen in their weekly conversations at the community hall; free tickets for film viewing; voluntary sponsorship of social events; donations/purchase of wears, laptops and phones; sharing free opportunities for human development, such as the wellness event, free certified and non-certified education courses, like the, art, creative writing, local history, computer studies and healthcare classes; and frequently dropping bags of lovely coats, jackets, jog pants, and fleeces for their use. Even the Galway mystery tour organised for them by Mr Pat Kelly was remarkable.
As if the above were not enough, some residents, in the late hours of a certain evening, came to the aid of one of them who was wounded. In expressing her compassion, Lucy (a resident of Miltown) said: “Hussein stay strong brother, we are all here to support you and the central guys.” The community have also provided musical instruments for interested lads; organised dancing and drumming sessions and coffee mornings, where the residents and the asylum seekers, socialise and proffer solutions to challenges. Individuals from the community are also offering lifts to those of them in need of a ride in and out of the community and raising of funds for running trainers, shorts, socks, and base layer tops. The list is endless!
Reflecting on the positive impact of these men in the community, residents such as Ruairi said “the arrival of asylum seekers has created a positive and inspiring ripple of social solidarity.” Aine also wrote that “since I have started getting to know the lads, it has really enhanced my life.” Miltown Malbay community is a replica of the 2019 Catholic Church’s message on the World Day of Migrant and Refugees (WDMR). In the words of Pope Francis, “When we show concern for them, we also show concern for ourselves, for everyone; in taking care of them, we all grow; in listening to them, we also give voice to a part of ourselves that we may keep hidden because it is not well regarded nowadays.”
Reading through the comments of appreciation from Miltown residents, for these men seeking asylum, one may be moved to ask if these were happening in a dream. This is because, for some weeks, a number of Irish communities have been on the news, for issues relating to their rejection of plans to have a centre, which will offer as a temporary residence for asylum seekers in their communities. Like Pope Francis in his WDMR message, Miltown Malbay community is welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating asylum seekers.
Not minding that these asylum seekers are all grown up men and the limited services in their community, Miltown Malbay residents went ahead to not only welcome these asylum seekers, but provided channels through which they (residents) can look out for them, and above all, have an endless list of generousness, they are sharing with them.