Protest held outside Department of Justice for sanctuary student Mehwish Saqib

Roisin Maguire

DCU Students’ Union (SU) called on the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan to prevent the deportation of DCU student Mehwish Saqib.

A protest was held yesterday outside the Department of Justice and Equality led by Christine Farrell, DCU SU president.

Mehwish was issued a final deportation order for herself, husband and three young children after their leave to remain application was denied.

A number of DCU students were joined by the students’ union of Technological University Dublin and by members of the Union of Students in Ireland.

Students held signs that said: “education not deportation” and “we wish for Mehwish”. They called on Charlie Flanagan to stop deportation of students who are trying to get an education by chanting “Charlie, Charlie, let her stay”.

Christine Farell began the protest by thanking students who attended and that DCU students and members of the SU are “not in any way, shape or form happy” about the situation and they are “really, really annoyed” that it has come to this.

Farrell said that Mehwish has “overcome a lot of barriers to come here” and that she “came to the island of a thousand welcomes” after receiving threats in her home country.

She also said “the government is planning to deport her back to a life of punishment, cruelty and danger” and that “we can never choose the lives we are born into but we can choose to be kind in those lives”.

They then held a silent sit-down protest by which time three members of An Garda Síochána arrived to monitor the protest.

Speaking to The College View, Megan Riley said “it’s really unfortunate that public events like this have to happen in order to call attention to something and when you think of all the deportations that are happening under the radar I think we have a really great community support”.

She also believed that people living in direct provision are “really integrated in Irish society” and that Irish people “understand that these people are part of our society” and that we “can’t just send people away, especially when they’re studying.”

Farrell said, “we are happy with the turnout today… it’s unfortunate that this is the second time we have had to do this in the space of a year”. She thanked USI, NCAD and TU Dublin for their support in the campaign.

Roisin Maguire

Image Credit: Roisin Maguire