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Northern Ireland 'glad to take 2,000 refugees', says Sinn Fein's McGuinness

By David Young, PA

Published 18/09/2015

Refugees look out of a train stopped and checked by Slovenian border police, at the railway station in Dobova (AP)
Refugees look out of a train stopped and checked by Slovenian border police, at the railway station in Dobova (AP)
Refugees demonstrate in Turkey

Northern Ireland's political leaders will accommodate up to 2,000 Syrian refugees in the region, not because they are required to, but because they want to, Martin McGuinness has said.

The Deputy First Minister said the five main parties were of one mind about the need to do everything they could.

Mr McGuinness said the quota of refugees allocated to the region from the 20,000 set to be accommodated across the UK over the next five years may be less than 2,000. But he said that was the number that could reasonably be placed in Northern Ireland.

Addressing a Sinn Fein event focusing on the refugee crisis at Parliament Buildings, he said Stormont officials continued to work on preparatory arrangements for the potential arrival of Syrians despite Stormont's political crisis.

"We certainly can make a huge contribution, relatively speaking, within our own sphere of influence here in the North," he said.

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