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More refugees from Syria set to arrive next month

Published 09/03/2016

People attending a vigil for refugees outside Belfast City Hall in 2015
People attending a vigil for refugees outside Belfast City Hall in 2015
The last group of refugees from Syria received a warm welcome

Sixty Syrian refugees are due to arrive in Northern Ireland next month, the Deputy First Minister said.

They are expected to be settled in the North West and will be the second group accepted.

The first to enter under a UK-sponsored scheme came before Christmas and are doing well, Martin McGuinness added. He pledged to welcome their compatriots.

He said: "Some of them are suffering from very traumatic conditions. We are expecting them to arrive some time around the beginning of next month.

"The intention is that they will go to the North West. We are at an advanced stage of preparation.

"This next group will be similarly well-treated, with every avenue to ensure their happiness and peace of mind is dealt with in the next number of weeks."

The UK is taking refugees from camps in countries neighbouring Syria rather than those who travelled independently into Europe.

Mr McGuinness added: "We want to take in groups in a way that we are not over-stretching ourselves and doing a disservice to people who would arrive here in big numbers."

He briefed the OFMDFM scrutiny committee at Stormont. Chairman Mike Nesbitt suggested Northern Ireland lacked the facilities to help the most traumatised.

The former victims' commission has been a strong advocate for improved trauma services in Northern Ireland.

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