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Northern Ireland could take 2,000 refugees as scale of crisis hits home

By Liam Clarke

Published 05/09/2015

A child cries as refugees try to board a train at the railway station in Budapest, Hungary (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
A child cries as refugees try to board a train at the railway station in Budapest, Hungary (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Refugees in a rubber dinghy arriving on the beach at Psalidi on Kos
Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old boy whose drowning sparked a global outcry, is laid to rest by his father
A refugee holding her child is detained in Bicske, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Sir Bob Geldof called the refugee crisis an "absolute sickening disgrace"
Michael D Higgins made a plea for ordinary people to offer at least shelter and security to refugees
A stream of migrants in Hungary yesterday

Northern Ireland could take in as many as 2,000 Syrian refugees as the humanitarian crisis worsens, politicians have suggested.

Aid campaigners have said preparations must begin now for an influx of refugees in order to avoid chaos.

Jeffrey Donaldson, the DUP MP for Lagan Valley, is one of the many politicians supporting the move and hasn't ruled out taking a family in himself if necessary.

"Let's look at what is available. I follow the line which my faith teaches that we should show good hospitality," he said.

Mr Donaldson gave no commitment on numbers but said that a figure of 2,000 tweeted by Martin McGuinness was worth considering.

He pointed out that David Blunkett, the former Home Secretary, recently called for the UK to take 25,000 people within six months.

Read more

Refugee crisis: how to help  

Since Northern Ireland is 2.9% of the UK population that would make our proportionate share 725. We have to be part of a UK-wide effort because Stormont has no powers to grant asylum or nationality.

Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to take "thousands" more migrants but hasn't yet been specific.

A migrant holds a crying boy out of a local train coming from Budapest and heading to the Austrian border, that has been stopped in Bicske, west of the Hungarian capital on September 3, 2015. AFP/Getty Images
A migrant holds a crying boy out of a local train coming from Budapest and heading to the Austrian border, that has been stopped in Bicske, west of the Hungarian capital on September 3, 2015. AFP/Getty Images
TOPSHOTS A migrant family is arrested by local police after their local train coming from Budapest and heading to the Austrian border has been stopped in Bicske, west of the Hungarian capital on September 3, 2015. The train carrying between 200 and 300 migrants left Budapest's main international train station after authorities re-opened the station to migrants as the EU is grappling with an unprecedented influx of people fleeing war, repression and poverty in what the bloc has described as its worst refugee crisis in 50 years. AFP PHOTO / ISTVAN BIELIKISTVAN BIELIK/AFP/Getty Images
TOPSHOTS Migrants board into a local train heading to the Hungarian-Austrian border at the main train station in Budapest on September 3, 2015, after authorities re-opened the station to refugees. On the day before Hungarian authorities stopped migrants taking trains to Austria and Germany. AFP PHOTO / PETER KOHALMIPETER KOHALMI/AFP/Getty Images
TOPSHOTS Migrants of several countries enter a local train with direction to the Hungarian-Austrian border at Keleti (East) railway station in Budapest on September 3, 2015. A train carrying between 200 and 300 migrants left Budapest's main international train station and headed toward the Austrian border, after authorities re-opened the station to migrants. AFP PHOTO / PETER KOHALMIPETER KOHALMI/AFP/Getty Images
TOPSHOTS Migrant boy holds a sign reading 'SOS help me' as he sits with other migrants in front of the Keleti (East) railway station in Budapest on September 2, 2015. Hungarian authorities face mounting anger from thousands of migrants who are unable to board trains to western European countries after the main Budapest station was closed. AFP PHOTO / ATTILA KISBENEDEKATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images
The feet of a young boy are bandaged as he waits at the railway station in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Over 150,000 migrants have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia, and many apply for asylum but quickly try to leave for richer EU countries.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
A young migrant boy plays a harmonica to police officers in front of the railway station in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Over 150,000 migrants have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia, and many apply for asylum but quickly try to leave for richer EU countries.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Migrants gather and shout slogans outside the railway station in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Over 150,000 migrants have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia, and many apply for asylum but quickly try to leave for richer EU countries.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Migrants help an elderly man to cross tracks at the railway station in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Over 150,000 migrants have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia, and many apply for asylum but quickly try to leave for richer EU countries.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
A migrant is detained after the train they were traveling in from Budapest arrived in Bicske, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Over 150,000 migrants have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia. Many apply for asylum but quickly try to leave for richer EU countries. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
People sit on a train as hundreds of migrants left the Keleti Railway Station in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Over 150,000 migrants have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia. Many apply for asylum but quickly try to leave for richer EU countries. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
A boy looks out of a window as a train with hundreds of migrants leaves the Keleti Railway Station in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Over 150,000 migrants have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia. Many apply for asylum but quickly try to leave for richer EU countries. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
A young boy holds a German flag in front of the railway station in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Over 150,000 migrants have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia, and many apply for asylum but quickly try to leave for richer EU countries.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Migrants try to board a train at the railway station in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Over 150,000 migrants have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia, and many apply for asylum but quickly try to leave for richer EU countries.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
A young child cries as hundreds of migrants try to board a train at the Keleti Railway Station in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Over 150,000 migrants have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia. Many apply for asylum but quickly try to leave for richer EU countries. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
A child cries as nigrants try to board a train at the railway station in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Over 150,000 migrants have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia, and many apply for asylum but quickly try to leave for richer EU countries.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
A young migrant boy flashes a victory sign with his fingers painted in the colours of the German national flag outside the railway station in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Over 150,000 migrants have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia, and many apply for asylum but quickly try to leave for richer EU countries. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Migrants show placards outside of the railway station in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Over 150,000 migrants have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia, and many apply for asylum but quickly try to leave for richer EU countries.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
A migrant shows his hands with the countries Syria and Germany written on them in front of the railway station in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Over 150,000 migrants have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia, and many apply for asylum but quickly try to leave for richer EU countries.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Migrants push and shout as they gather in front of the railway station in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Over 150,000 migrants have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia, and many apply for asylum but quickly try to leave for richer EU countries.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
A migrant family is arrested by local police after their local train coming from Budapest and heading to the Austrian border has been stopped in Bicske, west of the Hungarian capital on September 3, 2015. The train carrying between 200 and 300 migrants left Budapest's main international train station after authorities re-opened the station to migrants as the EU is grappling with an unprecedented influx of people fleeing war, repression and poverty in what the bloc has described as its worst refugee crisis in 50 years. AFP PHOTO / ISTVAN BIELIKISTVAN BIELIK/AFP/Getty Images
Migrant is arrested by local police after his local train coming from Budapest and heading to the Austrian border has been stopped in Bicske, west of the Hungarian capital on September 3, 2015. The train carrying between 200 and 300 migrants left Budapest's main international train station after authorities re-opened the station to migrants as the EU is grappling with an unprecedented influx of people fleeing war, repression and poverty in what the bloc has described as its worst refugee crisis in 50 years. AFP PHOTO / ISTVAN BIELIKISTVAN BIELIK/AFP/Getty Images
A migrant takes care of a crying boy outside a local train coming from Budapest and heading to the Austrian border, that has been stopped in Bicske, west of the Hungarian capital on September 3, 2015. The train carrying between 200 and 300 migrants left Budapest's main international train station after authorities re-opened the station to migrants as the EU is grappling with an unprecedented influx of people fleeing war, repression and poverty in what the bloc has described as its worst refugee crisis in 50 years. AFP PHOTO / ATTILA KISBENEDEKATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images
A migrant holds a crying boy out of a local train coming from Budapest and heading to the Austrian border, that has been stopped in Bicske, west of the Hungarian capital on September 3, 2015. The train carrying between 200 and 300 migrants left Budapest's main international train station after authorities re-opened the station to migrants as the EU is grappling with an unprecedented influx of people fleeing war, repression and poverty in what the bloc has described as its worst refugee crisis in 50 years. AFP PHOTO / ATTILA KISBENEDEKATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images
A rescuer helps a migrant lying on the platform outside a local train coming from Budapest and heading to the Austrian border, that has been stopped in Bicske by authorities, west of the Hungarian capital on September 3, 2015. The train carrying between 200 and 300 migrants left Budapest's main international train station after authorities re-opened the station to migrants as the EU is grappling with an unprecedented influx of people fleeing war, repression and poverty in what the bloc has described as its worst refugee crisis in 50 years. AFP PHOTO / ATTILA KISBENEDEKATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images
Migrants board into a local train heading to the Hungarian-Austrian border at the main train station in Budapest on September 3, 2015, after authorities re-opened the station to refugees. On the day before Hungarian authorities stopped migrants taking trains to Austria and Germany. AFP PHOTO / PETER KOHALMIPETER KOHALMI/AFP/Getty Images
Migrants of several countries enter a local train with direction to the Hungarian-Austrian border at Keleti (East) railway station in Budapest on September 3, 2015. A train carrying between 200 and 300 migrants left Budapest's main international train station and headed toward the Austrian border, after authorities re-opened the station to migrants. AFP PHOTO / PETER KOHALMIPETER KOHALMI/AFP/Getty Images
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: A migrant looks from a window of a train that he is refusing to leave as he protests against being taken to a refugee camp from a train that has been held at Bicske station on September 3, 2015 in Bicske, near Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have been cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Migrants protest against being taken to a refugee camp from a train that has been held at Bicske station on September 3, 2015 in Bicske, near Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have been cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Migrants protest against being taken to a refugee camp from a train that has been held at Bicske station on September 3, 2015 in Bicske, near Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have been cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: A migrant receives medical attention as people protest against being taken to a refugee camp from a train that has been held at Bicske station on September 3, 2015 in Bicske, near Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have been cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: A migrant receives medical attention as people protest against being taken to a refugee camp from a train that has been held at Bicske station on September 3, 2015 in Bicske, near Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have been cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Migrants protest against being taken to a refugee camp from a train that has been held at Bicske station on September 3, 2015 in Bicske, near Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have been cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Police stand guard as migrants sit on the platform of Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have bee cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Migrants gathered on the platform of Keleti station watch a train to Sopron leave, after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have bee cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Police stand guard as migrants sit on the platform of Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have bee cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Migrants board a train in Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have bee cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Migrants board a train in Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have bee cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Migrants board a train in Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have bee cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Migrants board a train in Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have bee cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Migrants board a train in Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have bee cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Migrants board a train in Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have bee cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Migrants board a train in Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have bee cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Migrants board a train in Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have bee cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Migrants board trains in Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have been cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Migrants board trains in Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have been cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Migrants board trains in Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have been cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

He also announced a further £100m in humanitarian aid for those in camps in Syria, Turkey, Jordan and the Lebanon and said he would like to take refugees directly from the camps rather than from those already in Europe. Churches are preparing to play their part. The Rt Rev Dr Ian McNie, the Presbyterian Moderator, is going to raise it at a meeting of the leaders of the main Christian denominations next week.

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"As Christians called to welcome the stranger and to love our neighbour, we need to open our arms to those who come to our shores," he said.

Fr Eddie McGee, a Catholic Church spokesman, said: "We will want to explore what we can do within the broader society and within the local community to assist migrants. We will also want to examine what help can be given in the countries that people are fleeing from to address the social and political issues leading to this situation."

Some clergy are already making a start. The Rev Chris Hudson, a former Oxfam chairman, is one example. He is minister of All Souls Non Subscribing Presbyterian Church and wants clergy to try and reach a concerted approach.

"This is the greatest humanitarian disaster since the Second World War. At All Souls we support three Zimbabwean asylum seekers; will find premises and resources to house a Syrian family. We will provide clothing, furniture, accommodation and a modest income to get them started. If we can't respond in this way we may shut up about being Christians," he said.

He stressed the need from planning. "We need storage for furniture and other items so that it will be ready when needed. We can't bring people in to beg on the streets."

Asked if people would be reluctant to come here given our troubled record, he laughed. "They won't have heard of Northern Ireland, they just want to go somewhere they can live and work," he said.

Belfast Telegraph

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