Two week old baby amongst group of Syrian refugees on way to North of Ireland

Final preparations are underway for the arrival of the first group of Syrian refugees in Northern Ireland. General view of the special welcome centre, at a location which is being kept secret, where  51 people - including a two-week-old baby and five children aged under 11 - are expected to arrive in the North on Tuesday. Picture by Stephen Hamilton/PressEye
Final preparations are underway for the arrival of the first group of Syrian refugees in Northern Ireland. General view of the special welcome centre, at a location which is being kept secret, where 51 people - including a two-week-old baby and five children aged under 11 - are expected to arrive in the North on Tuesday. Picture by Stephen Hamilton/PressEye
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A two week old baby is amongst a group of Syrian refugees due to arrive in the North of Ireland on Tuesday.

A group of 51 refugees, including a two week old baby, will be taken to a welcome centre in a secret location.

It is expected that the first group of refugees will be re-settled in the Belfast area. Derry is expected to welcome a group of refugees in early 2016.

Speaking ahead of their arrival, Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness said he believed the people of the North would welcome the refugees “with open arms”.

“I welcome all the Syrian families to the North of Ireland. Rest assured our people will open their arms and hearts to all who arrive here,” said Mr. McGuinness.

“They have been forced to leave the place they call home due to the persecution and pain being inflicted upon them in their homeland. We shall make every effort to help them settle quickly here and feel as content as possible in their new environment. “Today starts a new chapter in their lives and we all must play an active part to make sure they feel welcome, accepted and valued. I appeal to all our people to act kindly and compassionately and help rebuild and restore their faith in humanity,” he added.

Also welcoming the refugees was First Minister, Peter Robinson.

“I welcome each of the Syrian families to Northern Ireland and hope that they will quickly feel safe and secure in their new home. I have no doubt the people of Northern Ireland will extend a very warm hand of friendship, charity and generosity to our new friends and families.

“They can count on our continued support and encouragement in what has been a turbulent and traumatic time for all of them. The people of Northern Ireland do not just offer somewhere to live but the promise of a future full of hope.”