‘Ireland’s Refugee Hotel’, a highly emotive and powerful documentary co-produced with the BBC will air on TV3 tomorrow night, Thursday, November 2 at 9pm.
In March 2017, the first of around 240 Syrian refugees arrived in Ballaghaderreen, a remote town in the west of Ireland. Amongst the group is Ghassan, aged 21, who fled leaving his parents behind. With him are his grandmother, aunt and niece and nephew.
Home for the next 6 months as their asylum claims are processed is the Abbeyfield Hotel – built during the Celtic Tiger boom, but long since abandoned, it’s locked gates a symbol of a bust economy.
Many of the townsfolk are determined to give them a warm welcome and local children have made a welcome wall at the hotel, but others are concerned – Ballaghadereen is traditional and staunchly Roman Catholic and there are fears that the influx of refugees could overwhelm the town and its already overstretched resources.
As the refugees arrive and settle in, we get to know some of the townsfolk who have decided to lend a hand – Hotel Manager Jackie who gave up a career in luxury hotels and now runs the Abbeyfield and helps the refugees to acclimatise, and Mary who runs the local clothes shop believes the Irish history of emigration should encourage locals to welcome the refugees with open arms.
"I'm afraid, i will not go walking like I used to".— TV3 (@TV3Ireland) October 31, 2017
Ireland's Refugee Hotel: True Lives, Thursday at 9pm on TV3. pic.twitter.com/Hli34W9Fgp
We follow the ups and downs of the asylum process as Ghassan and his family adjust to Ireland but realise they may never see loved ones again.
And we discover if the town and the refugees can put any differences they may have behind them and find a shared humanity.
Ireland’s Refugee Hotel is a co-production between TV3 and BBC1, made by multiple award winning independent production company Films of Record. It is produced and directed by Alex Niakaris (ISIS: The Origins of Violence) and Exec produced by Katie Buchanan (War Child, The Romanians are Coming).