By the second week of August 1971 in a bid to to escape the violence of the Troubles, refugees from Northern Ireland arrived into the Republic in unprecedented numbers, putting immense pressure on the designated centres around the country.

This report opens with footage of some of the refugees housed in Ballymullen Barracks in Tralee, County Kerry. Conditions were so bad in many of the refugee centres that a number of those who had fled initially, decided to return home.

Kevin Myers interviews some of the refugees returning to Belfast. The general feeling among those returning is that the camps were overcrowded and the staff were not able to cope with such numbers, although they did the best they could. One man returning from the Gormanston Camp in County Meath was unhappy to be housed in a marquee with soaking blankets for cover. Another returning woman is angry there was no food for the children.

Barry Linnane interviews a Protestant woman forced out of her home. Threatened for two years, she had to get out for the safety of her children. She is entirely dependent on charity and voluntary help and had no idea what the future holds.

One young woman is unhappy about the lack of official support for refugees

The people are giving it but the welfare and the government have done nothing for them.

An RTÉ News report by Kevin Myers and Barry Linnane broadcast on 13 August 1971.

Northern Irish Refugees
Refugees in Ballymullen Barracks in Tralee