Dominic an College in Portstewart has become the first school in Ireland to be awarded School of Santuary status.
Four cities in the island of Ireland - Belfast, Derry-Londonderry, Dublin and Waterford - have very active City of Sanctuary Groups. Causeway Borough of Sanctuary group is currently working hard towards the aim of the area becoming a Borough of Sanctuary.
Presenting the School of last week were Maire Rodgers, a member of Causeway Borough of Sanctuary group and Richard John, secretary of this group and also secretary of the Causeway Multi-Cultural Forum.
Speaking at the presentation Head Boy, Jan Dillenburger Keenan, said: “Our school is proud to be a school of Sanctuary.
“A School of Sanctuary is part of the Causeway Borough of Sanctuary group which work collectively and collaboratively for social justice.
“Within the ethos of this school we are committed to helping others; we continue to campaign for social justice through both our St Vincent DePaul and John Paul II groups and, consistent with our Dominican values, we came together at the start of this year to raise awareness and donate to the Cork to Calais refugee appeal.
“Within our Year 14 RE programme we also explored the issue of immigration to develop our understanding of this issue within and beyond our local society.”
Maire, a past member of staff of Dominican College spoke of her delight in returning to her old school, saying: “There was always a warm tradition of welcome within Dominican and a strong sense of pupils and staff looking out for each other”. She characterised the school’s tradition as “In the shelter of each other the people live”.
Richard added: “You are truly game changers who have worked hard to create a place of safety, a place which would stimulate opportunities for those in our world seeking sanctuary, allowing them a voice within society and ensuring that they are not left out”.