Fear and Despair at the Burgh Quay GNIB

A Day's Diary of an Anti-Racism Activist in Ireland Anti-Racism activist, Rosanna Flynn, tells the stories of Asylum Seekers awaiting their fate at the Burgh Quay Garda National Immigration Bureau in Dublin.... Thursday 9:45am: Anti-Racism activist, Rosanna Flynn of Residents Against Racism, tells the stories of Asylum Seekers awaiting their fate at the Burgh Quay Garda National Immigration Bureau in Dublin.... I went to the GNIB at Burgh Quay Dublin to meet three people told to be there at 10am. First met Latafia from Nigeria and her husband A. They married in Ireland three years ago and A. has had a deportation order. Latafia has to have an operation soon and she is unable to conceive. Naturally she wants her husband with her. As she said, he is a good man who has stood by her through her health problems and what is the use of her being able to conceive. Without him she can't anyway. P. is also Nigerian and has two children born in Nigeria. One year ago her Irish-citizen baby died shortly after birth. The immigration officer questioned her about this, within the hearing of 6 or 7 people. The place was crowded. The officer did this in a most insensitive way. Because the baby died, she has no case as the mother of an Irish child. Her dead baby doesn't count. It is as if he never lived. On The Run In Paris... ''...After exploring the Eiffel Tower we walked back to the Metro and found them again. Being a connoisseur of kitsch I had to buy a mini-Tower. I asked one of the men for the 1€ replica and then asked if I could take his picture. In a blink of an eye the ten men were running away from us down the street. Soon we witnessed Paris Police in a van on the scene as the men zig-zagged across the busy street to avoid capture.....'' Read More & Photo Series... Listening to this reduced our next Nigerian mother, V., to tears. She said: 'If she has 6 children, they will not replace the one who has died. She will think of that child everyday for the rest of her life.' V. herself has two children, one born in Ireland. She was due to be deported before the new ruling and has been in hiding, helped by good friends, also Nigerian asylum seekers, who met her for the first time in Ireland. Now she has applied for her own residency status because she has an Irish child. Her children are not with her all the time, there is no room - another good asylum seeker takes care of of them. She sees them often and when she must leave, the older one asks 'When are you coming back?' So many in the afternoon, I almost lose count. Two other Residents Against Racism members come down to Burgh Quay. One Irish and one a Nigerian father of Irish children. One woman, C. who walks with a stick and looks frail, has two lovely daughters, one in primary and one in secondary school, they are with her. The younger girl tells me she loves playing gaelic football. Both have been in school for years and do very well. They are like the typical Irish schoolgirls. This family are so well integrated the school support for them and many people in the town in back where they live have petitioned the government for them to stay. They would be a credit to any community.... Another young Nigerian woman, A. again is totally integrated. She is allowed to work as she has been here before the law forbidding asylum seekers to work was passed. She also studies and pays her own fees. Like most people I met today she is very well educated. L. and E. from Galway and Limerick are single men from Nigeria who didn't attempt to become fathers of Irish citizen children. They are typical of the many men I have met over the last weeks. It is not true that most asylum seekers misuse the system to get residency as parents of Irish citizen children. That is what the government told as was happening before last June's referendum. These are some of the cases dealt with Thursday. Not all, by any means. The place was crammed with people and RAR can only touch the tip of the iceberg. The awful thing is we know similar cases are played out all over Europe. Thursday was a lesson in human misery. All these people we met are due back to Burgh Quay, most next week. They all live one day at a time. 12:30am Friday Night: One of the other cases not mentioned above called us, C. living in the midlands is in total trauma and is threatening suicide, 'They will take care of one of my children if I am dead' she says. Listening to her voice on the phone it is obvious that she has taken medication and we worry but could not get her on the phone again later. We spoke until about 1:30am. This morning early we speak with her doctor. We are convinced she is having a nervous breakdown - she is not eating and worried that she slapped her son for nothing. The guilt has pushed her to the edge, in our opinion. She left a violent husband to come to Ireland and is terrified more for her children than herself. She has a good Irish friend who I hope can care for the kids if C. is hospitalised. Another call, someone in hiding who didn't go to Burgh Quay, 'Can you advise me how I can get my ten year old son adopted by my friend who has full status here? Then I will go and he will be safe.' http://www.indymedia.ie/attachments/mar2005/1rargnibdsc_1401.jpg http://www.indymedia.ie/attachments/mar2005/smallrun_1.jpg http://www.indymedia.ie/attachments/mar2005/running2.jpg

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