Céad míle fáilte

AT least 42 migrants, including 17 children, drowned in recent days after the wooden vessels in which they were travelling sank off the Turkish coast. 

They, like the million refugees who reached Europe last year, were fleeing either war or poverty. Millions more — maybe as many as 2m — have reached Turkey.

The magnitude of the change this will bring to Europe was recognised by European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi in Davos yesterday when he said that European society would be changed by the crisis. Speaking at the same event, Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem warned that the number of refugees entering Europe must be reduced.

Those are the remote gestures of today’s defining crisis, which reached our shores yesterday when the first Syrian refugee family arrived in Ireland. A family of 10, they are part of the first group of refugees to come here in response to the migration crisis. Let us make them more than welcome and support them as we would wish our emigrant children might be supported in their new homes. Céad míle fáilte.

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