In this week’s edition of Dubliners, we speak to Arturo Centore, an Italian native who has been living in Dublin since 2006.

“I’m originally from Italy but I’ve been living in Dublin since 2006 and really feel part of the community here.

I love this country and its wonderful spirit, it’s why I chose to live here, it’s one of the best countries in the world for helping other people.

The community spirit where I live in Blanchardstown is so strong, I have lived in a few other countries and I’ve never experienced such strong spirit as here.

I live with my wife Paola and my daughter, Alice, who was only four months old when we moved here.

Now she is fluent in Irish and speaks with a strong Dublin accent!

I was only supposed to come here to stay for one year, now I want to stay for life and I’ve applied for citizenship.

My daughter attends a local secondary school, Coolimine Community School, where I also volunteer in the Parent’s Association.

It’s a great school, I really want to congratulate the PA, the teachers and the Principal for the amazing work they do with the pupils not just in relation to the syllabus but the social inclusion, environment projects, cultural diversity etc.

I am also involved with the De Paul homeless charity too.

I volunteer in one of their busiest homeless hostels in the city centre where we help up to 120 homeless people, distributing food, counselling, doing anything we can to help really.

The experience there is amazing, and it is important to be able to help who have been less lucky then us.

This experience is really changing my life point of view.

I also work in the maritime industry, usually as captain on a vessel, my career at sea started over 20 years ago when I completed a five year study program at the Maritime College in 1996.

I served a year in the Italian Navy on board the Coast Guard SAR units, then with Grimaldi Lines on board their vessels travelling throughout the major shipping routes of the world North Europe, West Africa and South America.

Last year I was contacted by a group called Sea Watch e.V. a non-profit organization that carries out civil search and rescue operations of refugees in the Central Mediterranean.

Sea-Watch provide emergency relief capacities, demands and pushes for rescue operations by the European institutions and stands up publicly for legal escape routes for refugees.

According to the Law of the Sea, if you see someone drowning it is your duty to save them, so we are there to help refugees.

Sometimes we get stopped by navies from European countries, we’ve also had attacks on our boat.

It’s such a heart-breaking situation at the moment with people risking their lives trying to flee war torn countries.

The people they pay to help “assist” them reach Europe give them a little rubber boat and tell them Europe is only a few hours away.

The Mediterranean is massive and much further away than a “few hours” – when we rescue them they’re usually in a very bad way.

The volunteer activists from all over Europe have been involved in the rescue of more than 37,000 people so far.

I should finish my law degree this year or next, and specialize in International Law and Human Rights.

And apart from my professional background this is one of the reasons I am involved with Sea Watch and their cause.

Apart from some contribution when on board the Sea Watch, I am a small entrepreneur and I have a packaging business based in Dublin 15.

I created a brand a few years ago which provides packaging for businesses now we mainly have online customers.

Sometimes volunteer work is perceived by many as not a real job, but I must say sometimes it is even more satisfying, at least for the soul.

By the time this is published I will be aboard Sea Watch 3 for the next mission.”

  • What’s your story? Do you have an interesting connection to Dublin and why you call it home? Please email your story to news@dublingazette.com