Young footballers from Gaza heading to Ireland for a week of fun

A group of children from the besieged Gaza strip are coming to Ireland for a break from the conflict

Young footballers from Gaza heading to Ireland for a week of fun

Picture by: Ben Curtis / AP/Press Association Images

A group of children from the Gaza strip will arrive in Dublin on Friday for a 10-day visit to play football.

The trip is part of Gaza Action Ireland's effort to allow children from the besieged Gaza strip the chance to play with better facilities and without restrictions. 

Gaza Action Ireland's coordinator Zoë Lawlor, said:

“The situation for Palestinians in Gaza trying to play sports, living as they do under siege, is extremely difficult. The children are hampered by lack of facilities, equipment, places to play and restrictions on their movement.

“This visit to Ireland will provide a wonderful chance for them to meet other children, experience a new culture and to tell their stories.” 

Al-Helal, the children's clubhouse at home in northern Gaza was damaged by Israeli bombings in 2012 and 2014.

The children, aged from 10 to 14 years old, will stay and play in Nenagh, Co Tipperary, as well as in Maynooth, Dublin, Limerick, Kinvara and Wexford during the next two weeks.

Almost two million people in Gaza live under an illegal blockade imposed by Israel. The group coming to Irelan have already lived through three wars in their country.

Ms Lawlor said she hopes that this trip will not only provide some well needed fun for the children but help to raise awareness about the need for future support.

“As well as giving the kids a much needed break from stress and conflict, it is a great opportunity for the people of Ireland to participate and support them.”

The initiative to bring children from Gaza to Ireland was launched by former Ireland manager Brian Kerr in 2014, along with former rugby international player, Trevor Hogan, who met many of the children from the Al-Helal club on a visit to Gaza in 2013.