Join us in the Abbey Arts Centre for the launch of the Allingham Arts Festival 2016, which will open with the annual Allingham Lecture.
This year's Allingham Lecture will be delivered by Valerie Cox. Valerie's lecture will deal with the Syrian refugee crisis. The lecture will be followed by a Q&A hosted by Editor-in-Chief of the Donegal Democrat, Michael Daly.
"Twenty million refugees were walking the world at the end of 2015. They fled war, torture, hunger. They sought safety for their families and a new life in Europe where their children could grow up in peace. The reality was risking their lives crossing the seas on rubber dinghies, leaving all they had behind them, facing closed borders, the horror of the refugee camps, poverty and hunger. Thousands of men, women and children were trapped in our cities, living in derelict buildings or in makeshift camps.
But perhaps the strangest thing thing to emerge is the fear of the refugees, a fear which has resulted in huge delays in resettlement and which may have helped to fuel Brexit.
I have worked as a volunteer with the refugees arriving on the Greek islands of Kos, Leros and Chios and in the city of Athens and the port of Piraeus where thousands of people are living in derelict buildings or camping rough. Europe should be ashamed of itself!"
Valerie is well-known to radio listeners around the country as an investigative reporter on prime time RTÉ shows such as Morning Ireland, Today with Seán O’Rourke and the Pat Kenny Show. Valerie recently retired from RTÉ after twenty years with the broadcaster, although it is highly likely that she will continue to contribute and produce programmes on a freelance basis.