The community of the Kinsale Road Direct Provision centre was left stunned when two of its residents were forcefully deported two weeks ago.
They were Junaid and Sultan, two Pakistanis who were already on the deportation list, but they were hoping to revoke the deportation. They went to sign on at the GNIB in Dublin, where they were detained and put in Clover Hill prison for three days. They were not allowed to call anyone, they were not allowed to call their lawyer.
Two days after the ‘arrest’, they were put on an aeroplane, back to Pakistan, together with 14 other Pakistanis, including one young family and one atheist, whose life is in serious danger now.
The GNIB collected their belongings in black bin bags, without saying a word. (It now seems they took the belongings of Junaid’s roommate, not his own.)
Junaid was a very lovely young man. He had approached me a few months ago, we went for coffee together and he spoke of his troubles, of how he felt depressed, of his wish to belong.
Then we started organising a cricket team in KRAC. Junaid joined and proved to be a very talented player. He even talked about how his friend in the UK now plays for an English team and how he dreamed about playing for Ireland one day.
The last time I saw Junaid was at the Eid celebration in the centre. The Muslim Community had organised a fantastic celebration. They cooked food, they asked Citadel to come and play music, they had toys and presents for the children. It was an amazing day of togetherness and joy.
here are some photos.
It was the first Eid celebration that took place in the centre. The mood was jubilant. Junaid and Sultan were there too. I felt very privileged to be invited and taste some of the wonderful dishes cooked by the residents.
There was a feeling of true brotherhood between the people of the different nations; Pakistan, Bangladesh, Irak, Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia. Everyone celebrated together.
Little did we know that only a week later two of the celebrants would be removed from the country.
I was informed on the phone by one of the cricket players. Everyone was shocked. When I went in that day, people were crying, stressed and living in fear.
The Anti Deportation Movement was formed and a protest was held in Cork the next week. Around 100 people attended from Kinsale Road Accommodation Centre, Millstreet, Glenverra and Glounthaune accommodation centres.
Junaid is back in touch. He is in shock, back in Pakistan, with nothing. He has no money, because he was not allowed to work here, and he is looking for shelter. Form Sultan, all we know is he got back, not much after that.
And the residents in Direct Provision Centre now live under even more stress and more fear of being deported.