“Arriving in Ireland was an amazing time in my life. Europe was a new world to me. A world of freedom and possibilities. A world where you wouldn’t be asked for ID constantly. A world where it wasn’t the norm to be subjected to degrading body searches for no reason. A world where is wasn’t ok for others to hit you and scream questions at you while pointing a gun in your face. I remember the day that my youngest sister arrived here. We took her to the Dundrum shopping centre. She was utterly amazed by it’s size, especially the supermarket. She had never seen anything like it. I remember how happy and excited she was to be able to run around and explore. That is until she saw two Gardaí. She immediately ran and hid behind my father. She was terrified. Her knowledge of the police force was the opposite of what most people believe. She only knew fear of those people and their tanks and guns. How can you explain to a 10 year old that the uniformed people who once occupied her city are now the ones who make it their mission to protect her? My father knew exactly what to do! He went after the Gardaí and explained the situation. The 2 Gardaí came back and spoke with my sister. They were so kind and friendly. Soon they were taking selfies and high fiving. It was inspiring to see those seeds of trust starting to grow. In that moment I think my sister thought of Ireland as a new home and a safe place…”

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