Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson has welcomed an initiative which has brought Palestinian children to Ireland, to compete in a series of soccer matches against Irish teams.

Martina Anderson said: 

“This initiative allows children from Gaza to escape the dangers of growing up in occupied territory and travel to take part in a soccer competition. 

“Their club facilities in Gaza have been bombed twice, yet they continue to commit themselves to a sport that provides some escape from the realities of growing up in the shadow of a brutal Israeli regime. 

“The 18 players from the Al-Helal football academy in Gaza have been competing against a series of Irish teams over recent days and have received a great welcome wherever they have travelled. It is clear that the people of Ireland stand in support of the people of Palestine. 

“The reality is, however, that these children will have to return to the dangers of home. We have a moral responsibility to ensure that these dangers are removed.

“The Irish government, must follow the example set by the Irish people and take meaningful action to put an end to the suffering of people living in Gaza and the West Bank.”