Of the 20,000 Syrian refugees the UK has pledged to resettle, the first group arrived on Tuesday in Belfast, Northern Ireland from Lebanon.
To show their hospitality, locals have donated things like buggies and clothes. Additionally, the Northern Ireland Refugee and Asylum Forum, a local organisation, have received hundreds of cards from locals showing their support. Amongst them were also the First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin Mcguinness who sent in their kind regards to those arriving.
The coordinator for the Refugee and Asylum Forum, Denise Wright, said that the families would first be taken to a Welcome centre where they can rest and recover and also would be provided with food.
The entire process of bringing refugees in Northern Ireland is being overlooked by its Department for Social Development. The chairman of its parliamentary committee at the Stormont assembly, Sinn Fein’s Alex Maskey, spoke about how the individuals would need privacy and peace upon arrival.
In contrast to the warm welcome messages, this has also attracted some negative publicity in the shape of demonstrations by the far right through central Belfast. This has in return been met with protests from the anti-racist groups.