Local people have pledged their support for those struggling in refugee camps amidst what has been described as Europe’s worst refugee crisis since World War Two.
And a Ballycastle woman is one of those who has stepped forward to help co-ordinate collections.
News footage of desperate individuals trying to escape their war-torn homelands – culminating in shocking images of children and babies perished at sea - spurred Ballycastle woman (and mum of four) Kathleen McGarry into action.
Late last week she set up the ‘Moyle – Calais Refugee Solidarity Group’ Facebook page, and within a matter of hours the page had amassed hundreds of followers.
“I had looked around to see if anyone else was doing anything from this area, and there was one small convey, but I quickly realised we had the potential, resources and interest to do so much more,” explained Kathleen.
Supported by local councillor, Padraig McShane and a small team of passionate people, Kathleen quickly established dropping off points for aid donations around the town and started putting together a rota of volunteers to sort, pack and label the boxes.
“It is mostly men at the Calais Refugee Camps, so at first we were being quite strict about collecting essential and everyday items for men’s use,’ said Kathleen. “However, I have since been approached by another group who are sending items to women and children in Kos, so we’re going to send donations there too.”
Want to help?
Anyone interested in helping with the mission should search and like the Facebook page for daily updates; numerous fundraising efforts are underway, with details being announced over the coming days. You can also call Padraig McShane on 07828112129.
Kathleen would like to thank those who have approached her and pledged their support to the cause: Parish Priest Fr. Brian Daly, Greenlight Gateway, the Corrymeela Community and Niall McKeague,
Ballycastle drop-off points
McAlister Hall, Sunday 6th, 13th, 20th, 1am – 3 pm
Unit 6, Leyland Industrial Estate, Mon – Fri, 10am – 4pm; if no-one present, drop offs can be made by going to Greenlight Gateway office at unit 12.
Harbour Bar, North Street, Mon – Fri, 5pm – 9pm
The Calais convoy will leave Ballycastle on Monday 21 September, with another mission to the Greek Island of Kos planned for October.