The village of Rathdrum in County Wicklow is accommodating almost sixty asylum seekers.
Since a government dispersal programme began in November 1999, more than one thousand people have been sent to various parts of the country. The issue of relocating asylum seekers has met with opposition in some communities. However, in the village of Rathdrum in County Wicklow almost sixty asylum seekers have been successfully accommodated for the past four months.
While initially there was some apprehension among local people Jimmy O'Lohan of the Rathdrum Community Association says that any misgivings have been proven wrong.
There hasn’t been any trouble with them in Rathdrum.
Fourteen year old Anna Bondaruk from Ukraine is one of the new residents in the village and has been attending the Rathdrum Community College since January. She enjoys living in Rathdrum describing it as "very nice".
While many of the Rathdrum refugees did not want to speak in front of the cameras, all of those interviewed said that they had been made to feel very welcome in Rathdrum. One man did agree to speak and said that you get good and bad people everywhere. Locals are also in agreement saying that the asylum seekers are no trouble at all.
Jimmy O’Lohan welcomes those who are already in Rathdrum but says it would not be fair for the village or the asylum seekers themselves to accept more in such a small community.
Let’s give them a chance. We’re supposed to be a Christian country and let’s behave that way.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 3 May 2000. The reporter is Deirdre McCarthy.