Children’s football team from Palestine arrive for match

Squad to play Ballybrack FC, after welcome reception hosted by the Lord Mayor of Dublin

Players from Al-Helal Football Club   from Gaza, some of whom  are in Ireland to play a match against a Dublin club on Sunday

Players from Al-Helal Football Club from Gaza, some of whom are in Ireland to play a match against a Dublin club on Sunday

 

A children’s football team from Gaza, whose arrival in Ireland was delayed because of difficulties getting Israeli travel permits, are to line out against a group of Dublin children tomorrow.

The 14 children from Al-Helal Football Club, aged between nine and 14, arrived at Dublin Airport, before they were taken to the Mansion House to meet the Lord Mayor of Dublin Brendan Carr and Palestinian ambassador Ahmad Abdelrazek.

“This is a historic trip. 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,” said Mr Carr, a Labour councillor.

“Even being on a plane was exciting for them,” said one adult accompanying the team from Gaza, Ayedis Aburamadan. “The children are enjoying Ireland very much. This is the first time they have ever been outside Gaza.”

The team play Ballybrack FC in Co Dublin on Sunday, before they spend the remainder of their 10-day trip in Wexford and Nenagh, as part of the Gaza Action Ireland trip. Emphasising that the invitation to the children was not a political gesture, the Lord Mayor said he would welcome Israeli children who would like to visit on a similar trip.

“We want to welcome children from Israel too. This is about striving for peace. War isn’t working in the region,” he said.