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(en) Ireland, Organise* WCR #9 - Asylum Seekers on Hunger Strike

Date Mon, 18 Jul 2005 21:57:10 +0300

Irish state racism and deportations grows
Just weeks after direct action secured the return to
Ireland of deported Leaving Cert student Kunle
Eluhanla about 70 asylum seekers have gone on hunger strike.
Protesting their ‘Fast Track’ treatment by the Garda
National Immigration Bureau the hunger strikers, all
living in a hostel on Lower Gardiner Street, Dublin,
are facing deportation back to Nigeria – a country
that, against all the known facts, the Irish state deems ‘safe’.

All the hunger strikers are Nigerian, most are men.
There are 14 women in the group, 6 of whom are
pregnant, the pregnant women are not currently on
hunger strike.

Many of the men facing deportation are the fathers of
Irish citizen children who came to be reunited with
their wives and children. Minister of Justice Michael
McDowell’s offer of residency for non-EU parents of
Irish citizen children does not apply to them, it only
applies to parents of Irish citizen children currently
residing in Ireland. The Irish state is actively
keeping children from being reunited with their

This marks an escalation in a struggle for humanity
and against Irish state racism.
Kunle Eluhanla was among 35 Nigerians deported to
Lagos on a specially chartered flight following the
rejection of their asylum applications. Despite the
Minister refusing to review the deportation of Kunle
he was forced to change his mind. Several hundred
people, including many Kunle’s fellow students from
Palmerstown Community College, mounted protests
outside the Dail while solidarity action took place
from Belfast to Amsterdam.

As Gregor Kerr, of the Irish National Teachers
Organisation and anarchist Workers Solidarity Movement
said at the 2nd April celebration of Kunle’s return to
Ireland and protest at ongoing deportations:
“Michael McDowell was not for turning, this Minister
was still saying that Kunle would not be brought back…
He didn’t change his mind because he had a sudden
change of heart and he thought ‘ah that poor guy
deserves to come back’. He changed his mind because
people power, solidarity, people standing together,
had forced him to change his mind. And that shows us
the way forward in terms of looking to support other
people and looking to build campaigns to prevent
future deportations. That level of solidarity is a
message we must all take heart from”.

The Irish government is snatching children out of
schools, keeping families apart and splitting them up.
As people marched in Athlone on Saturday 16th April
to demand that two mothers, Elizabeth Odunsi and Iyabo
Nwanze are reunited with their children and friends in
Athlone reports came in that another Nigerian family
living in the town are facing deportation. The family
includes 15 and 17 year old sisters, both studying at
the local school, the 15 year old is preparing for her
Leaving Cert. They all face deportation to Lagos
within weeks. Residents Against Racism, the protest
organisers, condemned this latest move by the state.
If anything can be effective against the racist
polices of the Irish government and its mass
deportations direct action and solidarity can, as
Kunle’s case proves.

As we stated at the time of the Belfast anti-racist
rally, organised in opposition to rising racist
attacks in the city, on January 27th 2004:
“We demand a world free for travel for humanity, not
the exploitation of global capitalism, a world free
from borders and controls on our movements. We seek
to abolish governments, which create and maintain
division on behalf of a few wealthy and powerful
people, in favour of autonomous, self-governing,

As Gregor said:

“No more deportations! We stand for humanity, we
stand for solidarity and we stand for human rights”.

J. Brannigan

From the pages of Working Class Resistance, magazine
of Organise!, now available in text and PDF formats
Organise Ireland <organiseireland@yahoo.ie>
* [Ed. Note: Organise! is an anarchist group]

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