Larne was asked to help ‘Boat People’

Larne mayor Alderman Roy Beggs said he would welcome a “small number” of Vietnamese “Boat People” to the town in July 1979.

A request had been made from the DoE for local communities in Northern Ireland to help the refugees who fled their country by boat after the Vietnam War.

Mr Beggs said: “I think most people are aware of the terrible circumstances which have forced these people from their home land and would be sympathetic to the resettlement of a small number.”

He suggested that if numbers could be kept to approximately ten families, then “difficulties could be overcome”.

“People here have always been sympathetic,” he said,

and I am sure that would apply to the Vietnamese boat people.”

A spokesman for the DoE said: “What we want is an expression of goodwill. We want councils to say that they would welcome these people, then we would go to the Housing Executive and see about housing.”

He added that the practicalities of hpusing and employment would be one part in deciding where to settle the refugees.