Mario Siotto comes from Sardinia in Italy and came to Newry in 2002. He is here now 19 years old and is happy to be here, because he loves Newry. Mario came to Northern Ireland in 1998 to meet a beautiful woman from Belfast, whom he now calls his wife. When Mario retired from his engineering job in Italy, he lived in Ireland. The reason for choosing Newry was because in 1998 there were many tensions in the North. He and his wife traveled around Northern Ireland looking for a place to live. Mario said, “I thought Newry had a lot to offer and we decided to move to this beautiful city. I can feel that the Newry community is growing together and I know it’s a place for me and my wife. “
At first he was trying to find a job that would contribute to Newry’s fun community. He ended up finding a job at one of the best organizations, St. Vincent de Paul. Who served him very well as it helped those around him.
Mario was born in Iglesias in Italy and is the ‘baby’ of 8 families! He still has relatives back home. In his early days he worked as a Mining engineer, spending 26 years of his life in Iglesias, but due to an industrial crisis he had to emigrate and retire from his trade.
One of the biggest reasons why Mario loves Newry is that the communities here and behind the house are very similar, to him there is absolutely no difference. Being here feels like home in Italy.
In 2009, he joined the association of St. Vincent de Paul where he worked full time until now. Mario is the Drop in Center Manager at Newry. The Drop in Center in Newry opened in 2010 and through the economic crisis in 2010 the doors were always open, until March 2020 when they closed due to Covid 19. It is with great regret that she can no longer serve hot food for now and makes this a helpful atmosphere. However, he still helps people in need by sending food parcels. Mario is very proud to say that since March 2020 until now they have distributed nearly 9 thousand parcels of food. Mario added “Thank you very much to the fantastic community in Newry who have raised and provided enormous support when it is most needed, for me this is very useful because I love helping others”
Mario is a very kind and helpful man who has a hobby of walking the countryside. Apart from that he had no time or interest in anything other than helping those in need because that was a lie to his heart. He dedicated most of his time to the needy as much as he could. In his spare time, he collects donations for shops.
Being a member of the Newry community, he deeply felt that the city should build shelters for the homeless by saying that “Homeless people are not only people who live on the streets, but also people who face many challenges due to difficult circumstances. I’ve seen a lot of homeless people and that will be very important to me and it will be a very important improvement for Newry. “
Reflecting on Newry if he could change anything it would see more tolerance in the city, because this is so important. There are many people who come to Newry to improve themselves and improve their lives. Mario commented “If we could be more accommodating and more tolerant of each other that would be a huge advantage. Prior to Covid 19 at the Drop in Center, we held English classes for non-English speakers to help them integrate into our society. I believe we have a great community and everyone should respect each other. I would like to see more tolerance and respect in Newry “
Mario concludes “It is very important for me to give something back to this beautiful community because of the way I am treated. I am always welcomed and treated as a member of the community. I call myself” Newry’s adopted son. “I am very happy to be here and just wanted to take advantage of Newry’s abilities for me. “