Dublin footballer Michael Darragh Macauley has urged the Irish public to help struggling Syrian refugees following his recent visit to Iraq.
During his brief trip with Concern to the Middle Eastern nation, Michael Darragh met with families who only became refugees in recent weeks and with young people recently freed from terrorist-held areas.
Both refugee camps he visited had extremely limited educational and recreational facilities.
“It's heartbreaking to hear their story and, unfortunately, their story is ten a penny over there,” the Concern Worldwide ambassador said.
“People have been hearing about the Syrian crisis for almost 10 years now and, I don't think, are really reacting to it at all. I'm just trying to raise awareness that these kids were just like kids anywhere in Ireland. They need our help.”
Concern Worldwide CEO Dominic MacSorley said he was delighted that Michael Darragh had used his platform and influence to put the spotlight on some of the most vulnerable people in the world.
“Michael Darragh has gone above and beyond to support us since he became our ambassador in 2018. From generously donating a pair of his All-Ireland Final winning boots to meeting people in some of the world’s most hard-to-reach places, he has always been willing to help,” Mr MacSorley said.
“Michael Darragh has shown that he is not only a champion on the pitch, but he is also a champion for those in the greatest need too.”
This year, Concern’s Christmas appeal will help Syrian refugees in Northern Lebanon who are facing into a bitterly cold winter.
Lebanon is home to around 1.5 million Syrian refugees who have fled the ongoing conflict, which is now in its ninth year. It is the biggest refugee crisis since World War II.
Brutal winter storms are getting worse by the year. In January, one Syrian refugee died after Storm Norma hit the region, affecting around 22,000 refugees. Temperatures are expected to plummet in parts of Lebanon this winter. Without help, more refugees are at risk of dying in these treacherous conditions.
Concern is looking for donations of €22, which can provide a winter survival kit for a family in need. The kits include a mattress and two blankets to combat the bitter winter chill. To donate visit concern.net or call 1850 410 510.