Town set to welcome Syrian refugees
Next week could prove to be a major milestone in the history of Ballaghaderreen. According to reports, the next seven days could see the arrival of the first group of Syrian refugees (possibly on Tuesday) ahead of what could be one of the highest profile St. Patrick’s Day parades in the country.
Organiser and Town Team Chairman, Michael Frain, believes the people of Ballaghaderreen are ready.
He said: “The Town Team has been working for a number of years on the Ballaghaderreen St. Patrick’s Day events. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is just a small part of the overall big picture of course.
“This is a town of integration and while there was initial disappointment about the Abbeyfield Hotel and the decision not to reopen it, the people of Ballaghaderreen have really stepped up to the plate.
“The emphasis this year will be on the refugees and putting out a great welcome in a spirit of goodwill, openness, equality and inclusiveness.”
Michael admitted that things haven’t always been easy for the town of Ballaghaderreen but that the local people have always risen to a challenge.
“There have been tough times in the past and Ballaghaderreen has suffered at times. There are times when we don’t seem to be in the pecking order at all nationally but we are always striving to improve the way of life,” he added. The town of Ballaghaderreen certainly has an image of being inclusive and the theme of this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is ‘Ballaghaderreen – A town for all’.
The parade and the events around it are part of a much bigger picture of course and Michael assured me that Ballaghaderreen is open and ready to offer a Céad Míle Fáilte ahead of next week’s milestone events.