A young football team from Gaza City in Palestine arrived for a tour of Ireland today.
The Gaza Kids to Ireland project is an initiative of Gaza Action Ireland to show solidarity with the people of Gaza.
The 18 young players, representing the Al-Helal Football Academy in Gaza, arrived yesterday and will be in Ireland until August 6.
They will visit communities and play football in Dublin, Leitrim, Kinvara, Cork and Limerick.
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Mags O’ Brien of Gaza Action Ireland said: “The situation for Palestinians in Gaza trying to play sports, is extremely difficult. The children are hampered by a lack of facilities and equipment as well as the ongoing conflict.
“Al-Helal Football Academy clubhouse was partially damaged in a bombing in 2014 which was a huge setback for the club but despite all this the club is going strong.
“The project provides these young children with a much-needed break from the hardships where they live and is a great opportunity for people to support these wonderful young players.”
SIPTU Global Solidarity Committee Secretary, Yvonne O’Callaghan, said: “Gaza is a living space only 6% the size of Co Galway in which nearly two million people are living. The deterioration in the human rights of the population, especially those of children is alarming.
“We hope that trade union members across the country will come out in solidarity and support the many activities planned on the Al-Helal Football Academy’s tour of Ireland.”