Weekly Comment:
“Gaza Kids to Ireland”
Scheme a Success

Fourteen members of the Al-Helal football club arrived with their coaches in Dublin Airport on July 30th.

By Olivia O’Mahony, Editorial Assistant
August 5, 2016

Last week, fourteen young footballers the Al-Helal club in the blockaded Gaza Strip touched down in Dublin Airport for a ten-day trip of football, fun, and friendship. The boys, aged ten to 14, have been staying and playing their way around the country through counties such as Dublin, Kildare, Tipperary, Wexford, Limerick, and Galway.

“The situation for Palestinians in Gaza trying to play sports, living as they do under siege, is extremely difficult,” says Gaza Action Ireland (GAI) coordinator Zoë Lawlor. Al-Helal’s clubhouse in northern Gaza was damaged by bombings in both 2012 and 2014, and the children have already lived through three major Israeli-Palestinian conflicts in their homeland.

The team, whose arrival was delayed due to difficulty obtaining Israeli travel permits, were officially welcomed at Mansion House, Dublin by Lord Mayor Brendan Carr and Palestinian ambassador Ahmad Abdelrazek. “This is a very historic trip,” Carr said in a statement. “We really welcome the fact that children who find it very difficult to live a normal life in their home have been able to visit Ireland, where we will show them what a society living in peace is like.” He also asserted that a trip like this is also very much extended to Israeli children: “This is about striving for peace.”

In terms of activities so far, the Al-Helal team have trained on Sandymount Strand in Dublin, enjoyed the iconic Viking Splash Tour on the River Liffey, and met with President Michael D. Higgins at the Galway United football club in Eamonn Deacy Park.

The visit grants the young players “a wonderful chance to meet other children, explore a new culture, and to tell their stories,” according to Lawlor. She added, “It is a great opportunity for the people of Ireland to participate and support them.” ♦

 

One Response to “Weekly Comment:
“Gaza Kids to Ireland”
Scheme a Success”

  1. Thats all i needed to know thanks keep me update

Leave a Reply




Share



More Articles

Band Aid Donates Archives to Ireland’s National Library

Bob Geldof and the Band Aid Trust donated their archives to the National Library of Ireland in December, opening them...

More

Mapping Irish DNA

In a study published late December in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers have found 10 genetic groupings that...

More

Ireland to Recognize Preferred Gender Pronouns in Registry of Foreign Births

In December, Ireland took further steps to grant equality to transgender citizens by introducing policy designed to...

More

Uilleann Pipes Acknowledged by UNESCO

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) approved recognition of uilleann piping...

More