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Thursday, October 27, 2016
Irish Bishop calls for support for migrants
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¬† The Irish people's long experience of emigration means that they have a responsibility to offer a warm welcome to those migrating to Ireland, the Bishop of Derry Dr Sťamus Hegarty, said yesterday. Speaking at a drop-in centre and supported housing complex for elderly Irish people in Birmingham, Bishop Hegarty, who chairs the Irish Episcopal Commission for Emigrants, said history had shown that immigration often caused "neglect, exploitation and removal of status and resulted in an immense fall-out in terms of human suffering and economic stagnation." The Bishop said: "What, you may ask, is the 21st century lesson that can be learnt from this historical legacy? It is thus: If we lose sight of the individual migrant, we promote globalisation without a conscience. "May I add that as we face the challenge of welcoming immigrants to Ireland we find ourselves reflecting on the story of Irish emigration as a touchstone for policy and initiatives. We now have a real responsibility to ensure that we provide a welcome that befits the dignity of those who migrate to Ireland." In February 2004 at the Irish Centre in Camden Town, Bishop Hegarty launched the three year "Supporting Irish Abroad" (SIA) awareness campaign. The focus for the first year of the campaign was on the Irish living in Britain, who, having emigrated in the 1950s, '60s and '70s, are now at the greatest risk in terms of their physical and mental health. Bishop Hegarty said the Irish Bishops had received generous support for the campaign, which raised over £500,000 last year. He said: "What is clear from the success of the campaign is that Irish people at home express solidarity with you, their brothers and sisters, living abroad." Bishop Hegarty gave the Birmingham project £50,000 from the fund towards their outreach services to elderly Irish people in their homes. Source: Irish Catholic Media Office
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