Olunkunle Eluhanla Coming Home To His Mates

category national | racism & migration related issues | feature author Déardaoin Márta 24, 2005 14:44author by Caoimhe Report this post to the editors

McDowell Forced To Do A U-turn.

McDowell has been forced to admit that he made a mistake in deporting Palmerstown student Olunkunle Eluhanle and is now bringing him back from Nigeria. He is giving him a six month visa to remain in Ireland to do his Leaving Cert. This is obviously due to the immense amount of effort put into this campaign by the Palmerstown Community School students and Residents against Racism, who together forced this issue.

They kept this issue alive in the media, which led to all of the oppostion parties, the Archbishop of Dublin, the Teachers Union of Ireland, Integrating Ireland and different schools around the country among others, all coming out against the deportation.

What needs to be done now is that all of those on that flight should be brought back. It is known that there were serious human rights abuses in the airport before the plane took off. It is known that some of those on the plane were unable to get in contact with their solicitors to get an injunction put in against their deportation. Also five children have been effectively orphaned in Ireland due to McDowell deporting their mothers. All of those on that plane should be brought back.

Also it must be ensured that Olunkunle Elunhanle is given permanent residency rights in Ireland - not just a six month visa.

Related Articles
Dail Protest Photo Essays / Video / Audio / Links to Related Stories
Original Indymedia Report on Deportations

author by ivorypublication date Déar Márta 24, 2005 11:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

..........at the tax payers expense.

Mc Dowell can pay the fare out of his own pocket, not mine.

author by Patricia Byrnepublication date Déar Márta 24, 2005 12:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A victory to all those in Palmerstown School. Fair Play to them. Also the workers in Spar, Joe Higgins TD and all those in Socialist Youth. All the work paid off!

author by Annoyedpublication date Déar Márta 24, 2005 12:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why do the SP always try and hog all of the glory? Cop yourself on Patricia. You might well ask the SP about their level of regular involvement in RAR. Are they absent because they cant control it?

author by pleasepublication date Déar Márta 24, 2005 12:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I imagine there were other political organisations involved as well. All involved deserve thanks.

author by eoinpublication date Déar Márta 24, 2005 12:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I can't help thinking that it a bit questionable to bring back everybody who's been deported from Ireland...

author by Davy Carlinpublication date Déar Márta 24, 2005 12:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well done

To the School kids - to RAR who have sustained its campaign over the years - to all those who organised, and to the many organisations and individuals, who took part in the Solidarity protests in various cities.

It was both a united and indeed International stand in part.

But there is still much more to do.

author by simonpublication date Déar Márta 24, 2005 12:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Its always the decent sort who get screwed over. I guarantee the scum who are dealing in sex slaves and extortion in their own ethnic minorities here will never be caught and deported!

author by shoegirlpublication date Déar Márta 24, 2005 12:55author email shoegirl at eircom dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Congratulations to RAR and the other groups who've lobbied so effectively for the fair deal for deportees.

Basically I think its really important that we try to raise the following issues:

1. If deportation is supposed to reflect "failed" asylum seekers, then why are so many achieving injuctions and going on to succesfully challenge their deportation? (And in many cases also decisions in asylum applications)

2. Why is it that the gardai are so masterfully sucessful in the deportation of asylum seekers, whearas it is clearly obvious that there are major problems with the asylum process itself?

3. Why do we have agreements with governments from countries with a notorious record of humanitarian abuses (such as China and Russia for example, and Nigeria to a lesser extent)? Why are we not judging cases on a case by case basis in countries where there is known social problems? For example although for most people Jamacia is a safe haven, it is not for homosexuals (in fact it is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be gay). There are exceptional situations which ought to be taken into account.

4. How does it take 3 years for an application to be completed to the point of deportation?

5. Ireland does still not have a coherent immigration policy. Most of the laws have had only slight changes mostly to take into account lobbying by over-stertched civil servants (not to mention politicans poisoned by consitutents anti-asylum venom) - but there is no definite policy. Unlike pretty much the rest of Europe.

author by socialist - socialist party / cwipublication date Déar Márta 24, 2005 13:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

On 15 March, 19 year old student, Elukanlo Olakunle, was deported by the Irish authorities from Dublin to Lagos, in Nigeria. He was dumped in the Nigerian capital, where he has no family, and without money or ID papers. Elukanlo Olakunle was then arrested and jailed, where he was attacked by thugs. However, Joe Higgins TD was alerted to Elukanlo Olakunle’s ordeal by his fellow students at Palmerstown Community College in Dublin, who organised student protests over the deportation. Joe Higgins and the Democratic Socialist Movement in Nigeria (cwi) are now helping Elukanlo Olakunle to survive in Lagos and are campaigning for his return to live and study in Ireland.
The case provoked uproar in Ireland, especially as Elukanlo Olakunle was deported during the week when St Patrick’s Day is celebrated in Ireland and in many other countries. St Patrick’s Day is traditionally a time associated with the plight of generations of Irish people who were forced to emigrate from Ireland because of poverty, joblessness and oppression.
Below is a press statement by Joe Higgins on Elukanlo Olakunle’s case. We also carry reports from the Irish press on the case. socialistworld.net

The shameful story of the deportation of Elukanlo Olakunle
Socialist Party TD (MP) and Nigerian cwi take up case of student

The shameful story of the deportation of Elukanlo Olakunle
Press Statement by Joe Higgins TD
Elukanlo Olakunle, a 19 year old student in Dublin was deported and

Dumped in Lagos by Gardai [Irish police] with no identity papers
Dumped in Lagos with no money
Dumped in Lagos with only school uniform
Imprisoned and released
Beaten up by thugs for money he did not have
The Minister for Justice has the most serious questions to answer about the deportation on Tuesday, 15 March of Palmerstown Community School student Elukanlo Olakunle.

Elukanlo was snatched when he went to sign on at the Garda National Immigration Bureau on Monday, 15 March. He was incarcerated in Cloverhill Prison and then deported. He was not allowed to speak to anybody.

He was dumped in Lagos, Nigeria where he has no family and no contacts He has no identity papers and had no money. He was in his school uniform, the only clothes he has.

On arrival he was taken to Alagbon Prison. On being released he was attacked by two thugs who, seeing his western clothes, assumed he had money to rob. Fortunately, a kind man gave him a place to stay for the night and also allowed him to use his phone to contact his friends in Dublin.

On hearing of Elukanlo’s plight from his fellow students at Palmerstown Community School, through the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) I contacted fellow socialists in the Democratic Socialist Movement of Nigeria (DSM) and asked them to help. They have met Elukanlo Olakunle and will assist him to find a safe place to stay for a period. I have this morning cabled some money to them to assist with accommodation and to buy food. It has to be understood that life in Lagos is extremely precarious for ordinary people, most of whom are very poor, including my socialist colleagues.

Members of the DSM got Elukanlo to write about what happened and emailed it to me.

What a cruel irony that the week that this young person was deported Irish Government Ministers were all around the world with Irish communities and the descendants of the millions who left Irish shores for a better life. Just like Elukanlo Olakunle. What monumental hypocrisy that Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was in Washington asking the US Government to allow thousands of ‘undocumented, illegal’ Irish people to stay in the United States.

I am contacting key members of the Dail to call on the Minister for Justice to immediately provide for Elukanlo’s return to Ireland so that he can continue his studies and have a chance of a decent future.

“Bring Kunle Home Campaign” was set up by his fellow students: Contact Neil Burke 085-7220266 or Donal Mooney 087-7537549)

author by :-) - @ € % $ .:. + *publication date Déar Márta 24, 2005 13:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

please kids don't make up your minds yet "which colour of the global alliance is yours" learn, continue to work your freedoms, don't get humble, don't get paranoid, we're on your side, and you're the best we have, and your liberty is contagious.
Now make sure you move forward your understanding of Africa, and the problems of Africans build your contacts and projects and continue the work of welcoming migrants to our Union of Europe.

well done. at end the old meanies listened to you.
and quite a lot represented you. well done to them too.

author by Annoyedpublication date Déar Márta 24, 2005 13:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The SP member here just proves my point, even internationally they want to claim all of the credit.

author by johnpublication date Déar Márta 24, 2005 13:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

We should be big enough to recognise the contribution made by RAR and Joe Higgins I think they both were execellent. But the heartening thing for this awl bolshie cynic was the students rallying to the cause.

Be under no allusion this was won because real people were involved not the usual lefties

author by Michael Gallagher - Residents Against Racismpublication date Déar Márta 24, 2005 14:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Regarding bandwagonners hogging the 'glory', the SP does have a member attend meetings now and again, but they and other parties have been supportive over the past five years. Remember this is just one small battle we have not won yet in what has been a long stuggle for refugees and asylum seekers. Olunkunle should now be given permanancy status.
RAR is an open and democratic organisation and we welcome anyone who wants to get involved in this stuggle. Michael McDowell is still the same minister we have being dealing with all this time. One token gesture doesn't make a sea change, he admitted he made a mistake and he has made many others. His departments policy is wrong, unfair and unjust. There are many other similar and worse cases that the public are unaware of and these need to be highlighted in this stuggle for justice and human rights for all refugees and asylum seekers.
RAR will not be controlled or highjacked by any political party, group or individual.
Meetings every Friday at the Teachers Club, Parnell Square, 8pm. Well done to everybody involved in the battles.

author by Gregor Kerr - WSM - 1st May branch - pers. cap.publication date Déar Márta 24, 2005 14:59author email kerrgregor at yahoo dot co dot ukauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Everybody involved in the campaign deserves congratulations. It's the first time McDowell has been forced to do a U-turn. And it's significant that he has acknowledged that his 'change of heart' was due to the protests by Kunle's fellow students. Let's all remember that there were 34 or 35 other Nigerians on that plane, every one of them deserves similar campaigns. Well done to the students in Palmerstown, well done to RAR and well done to all those ordinary people and members of political organisations who stood togerther and said 'Not in Our Name'. Can we keep up the fight for others - people who have been deported and people awaiting deportation. That's what's important - not squabbling over who is to take the credit.

author by Ciaron O'Reilly - Pit Stop Ploughshares (personal capacity)publication date Déar Márta 24, 2005 14:59author address author phone 087 918 4552Report this post to the editors

Well as someone who has the opposite problem....the Irish state just doesn't want me to leave.....2 years on bail/signing on and counting.......

I was deeply moved by the solidarity on the streets yesterday, the school kidz, the activists, the day to day grind work by Rosaana and the RAR crew.

This weekend the OZ crew head to Baxter Detention Centre in the isolated outback of South Australian desert....Baxter is what they replaced Woomera with when the ferals ripped the fence down and freed some refugees. They've got a brand new electric anti-feral fence at Baxter. The Australian High Court recently ruled they can detain a Palestinianguy for the term of his natural life as they have no where to deport to him too. So stay tuned on the Oceania & australian indy sites ovver the coming weekend for some nvda on this issue

The hypocricy abounds as pointed out by Joe Higgins yesterday
-the Irish have immigrated everywhere, if we all went home this place would sink
-the same week they ask for amnesty for Irishin the US they deport school kids and parents to a much more dangerous political context

-the other self evident truth is that war and the primary function Shannon plays in it AND the profit driven arms trade dominated by the 5 permanent members of the UN security counsel creates refugees and deplacement and all the costs that go with it.

Congratulations to all we need these small victories to go with all our glorious defeats.
One Love

Related Link: http://www.ploughsharesireland.org
author by Davy Carlinpublication date Déar Márta 24, 2005 15:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Such was the sheer diversity of those represented from across the movements, and more, of - liberals, the left - hard left, school kids, trade union, student union bodies, political, community, and church leaders, human and civil rights organisations the minority ethnic community and much more -it was that, that has forced the Minister for Justice to back down on this one point.

This has shown that the power of protest and mobilisation can work to put governments on the back foot - but such needs to be representative of the entirety of the movement, through keeping such actions diverse and practical.

As for the points of political parties who was there and who was not etc - as a member of no party -I can tell you that the only 'political parties' to attend both the Protest in Belfast and in Dublin where Sinn Fein, SWP and the CP.

author by Sinn Féinpublication date Déar Márta 24, 2005 16:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Litany of exploitation proof of need to reform work permits system
Published: 24 March, 2005
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment Arthur Morgan T.D. called for legislation to be immediately brought forward to reform the work permits system in light of the litany of revelations of exploitation of migrant workers which have come to public attention in recent days.

McDowell's asylum regime is a travesty of justice - Ó Caoláin
Published: 24 March, 2005
Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Cavan-Monaghan TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has described the Government's asylum regime as operated by Minister Michael McDowell as 'travesty of justice'. While welcoming the temporary reprieve for Olunkunle Eluhanla, Deputy Ó Caoláin highlighted the deportation on the same plane of a Nigerian mother and her three children who have been living in County Monaghan for several years where the children were attending local schools.

Sinn Féin welcomes Minister's deportation u-turn
Published: 24 March, 2005
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights, Aengus Ó Snodaigh has welcomed the decision of the Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell, to allow Leaving Cert Student Olunkunle Eluhanla return to sit his exams. However, Deputy Ó Snodaigh was highly critical that the Minister allowed the deportation to go ahead in the first place and that he was now only issuing the young Nigerian with a six-month visa.

TD and MLA Call for All-Ireland Anti-Racist Initiatives
Published: 24 March, 2005
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Anti-Racism Alex Maskey MLA and Spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD have issued a joint statement during European Week Against Racism calling for all-Ireland anti-racist initiatives including legal harmonisation and for the exercise of greater political will to end racism by all the political leaderships on the island.

author by Ciarán Cuffe - Green Partypublication date Déar Márta 24, 2005 16:43author email Ciaran at CiaranCuffe dot comauthor address Dáil Éireannauthor phone 353 1 618 3082Report this post to the editors

Green Party Welcome McDowell U-turn for Eluhanla

The Green Party has welcomed the admission by the Minister for Justice that he was wrong to allow the deportation of Olunkunle Eluhanla. It has also called on the Government to allow Mr. Eluhanla to remain permanently in Ireland and to reconsider its policy on similar cases.

The Party has repeated its call on the Irish Government to reconsider its policy on deporting young people once they reach the age of 18.

The Green Party’s Justice Spokesperson Ciarán Cuffe stated:
“Kunle’s case is not unique. I want the Government to reconsider its policy of deporting young people once they reach the age of 18. The total number of “aged out” asylum seekers who have applied for leave to remain on humanitarian grounds up to 1 January 2005 but not on the basis of an Irish born child is relatively small. I think we should be cautious about deporting young people who have put down roots in this country.

“I believe we should look compassionately at each case involving young people who are ‘aging out’. I understand that nine children under the age of 18 were deported to Nigeria last week on the same flight as Kunle.

Dublin Mid-West TD Paul Gogarty, who represents the Palmerston area, welcomed the news. He praised the work of the students of Pobalscoil Iosalde, Palmerston for keeping the campaign alive.

Deputy Gogarty stated:
"I am delighted that Minister McDowell has had a change of heart and that Kunle is able to come back to Palmerston to complete his Leaving Certificate. The young people in Palmerston Community School cannot be praised enough for their efforts. People power has been shown to work. Now hopefully they can all get down to their studies."

Related Link: http://www.ciarancuffe.com
author by redjadepublication date Déar Márta 24, 2005 17:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Review required into procedures surrounding overnight deportations
Issued : Thursday 24 March, 2005
Statement by Joe Costello TD

Labour Party Spokesperson on Justice, Deputy Joe Costello, has said the u-turn by Minister Michael McDowell in allowing the young Nigerian student, Olunkunle Eluhanla, to return to Ireland to complete his Leaving Certificate, must be complemented by a wholesale review of the procedures under which overnight deportations are conducted.

Deputy Costello commented, “Whilst I am delighted that Olunkunle is to return to Ireland, the entire case raises serious questions about the manner in which decisions are taken to deport non-nationals.


-- -- --

Rabbitte welcomes McDowell u-turn on Nigerian student
Issued : Thursday 24 March, 2005
Statement by Pat Rabbitte TD

This is an uncharacteristic, but nevertheless welcome u-turn on the part of Minister McDowell.

However, it does raise issues for Minister McDowell. The Minister mounted a vigorous defence of the decision to depot Olunkunle when he responded on the adjournment in the Dail on Tuesday evening and refused to consider any criticism of the decision. He now accepts that the decision to deport was wrong, leaving one to wonder if he had even read the file before mounting such a vigorous defence in the Dail.


author by redjadepublication date Déar Márta 24, 2005 17:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

- Bring him back, then deport him?

-- -- --

Archbishop's anger over deportation of student

Today the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin said it was hard to understand why the deportation could not have been postponed until after the Leaving Cert.

He said: “It is hard to understand why deportation, if deemed necessary, could not have been postponed in this case for a few weeks.

“At the very least, returning home with a certificate in his pocket would have been a boost to an intelligent young man, and have given him something of a better start in his own country.”

-- -- --


Press Release
13 March 2005
Bishops Launch Awareness Campaign For Undocumented Irish In USA

author by Dermot L - Labour Youthpublication date Déar Márta 24, 2005 17:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This really is an extraordinary victory for ordinary communities and for the whole spectrum of anti-racist and anti-deportation groups involved over the last number of years in seeking an end to these horrific injustices. But it is a victory in a small battle taking part in a wideranging, multi-fronted war.

As we welcome Kunle back we must redouble our efforts for the two Athlone-based women deported on the same flight minus their families. No doubt there are other stories as touching and personal as Kunle's on flights last Monday and over the past number of months. There will be similar stories of threatened deportations for real people playing a huge role in our society and adding so much to our communities in the months to come.

The pressure must not stop, but we can take heart in a decision today based not on McDowell's "compassion," as erroneously pointed out on RTÉ's 1 o'clock news, but on the pressure inflicted on this Government's inhumanity by ordinary school students, communities and anti-deportation activists in all parties and groups, particularly RAR. The fight goes on.

Related Link: http://www.labouryouth.ie
author by Michaelpublication date Déar Márta 24, 2005 18:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I wish the kids I teach would do something like that for a classmate!

Today we were talking in class about how cops and soldiers can do unconscionable things as part of their work, but be otherwise reasonable and indeed friendly people. The trick is, a girl in the class explained, they're act as agents for an organisation that's responsible for their actions. That's what they're told, and it's what they believe. So their conscience never comes into it.

Like mindless drones the gardai march desperate people onto the planes. If ever their conscience is awoken -- the look on their prisoner's face, or something an onlooker says -- they become mean and meaner still. But that rarely happens, and so they're just friendly guys doing a job.

author by SM - Mediapublication date Déar Márta 24, 2005 19:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A victory from which to build
It seems members of all the political parties are falling over one another to claim success in the Olunkunle Eluhanle case and lead the charge against the immigration policy. Perhaps a moment of reflection maybe necessary. This has been a small (although extremely important for the man involved) victory.
This was clear-cut case and the media had a clear image (I fear to say poster boy) in order to focus the case. Now the call is for his permanent residency, it might be best to let the lad do his exams and then make him once more the centre of media attention when it comes around that we are to expel a man which the state has educated and where he has set up home. Attention of course must now be turned to the abandoned children and the reality of the costs of these deportations vs. the benefit our new communities can be in economic and cultural terms to the country.
I would argue a bad image was created of the progressive elements in the Irish body politic during the Citizenship Referendum where for the best possible reason we opposed something that was to take us into the European Legal norm. Can a country, which has only struggled out of years of Imperial and Catholic exploitation, really expect to suddenly jump to advanced multiculturalism? Surely the demand that should be made is for this country to establish a stable and just non-politically motivated immigration system, which meets the best of European norms.
Once a pragmatic consensus has been build around this and many other key issues the Left might really start getting somewhere. We have bad Mickey McDowell rocking but in painful small stages will we roll his consensus back rather than dramatic egotistic charges to righteous martyrdom.

author by carapublication date Déar Márta 24, 2005 22:21author email caratoday at yahoo dot co dot ukauthor address short mountainauthor phone Report this post to the editors

congratulations to all involved you all have made a change let's keep our eye on the ball and make sure that mcdowell is brought to task on the manner in which these deportations are handled.We must remember there are many more not as fortunate as Olunkunle.Lets keep the pressure on.Power to the people one love

author by Badmanpublication date Aoine Márta 25, 2005 00:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

To everyone who took part in the protests, the teachers and class mates, RAR and other anti-racists, anarchists and socialists, and let's not forget the indymedia crew who did so much work covering this story. redjade, eeekkk, rasta4is - I'm talking about ye.

author by by Kunle from CWI websitepublication date Aoine Márta 25, 2005 11:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

May I use this medium to thank all my friends and school mates in Palmerstown Community School in Dublin who have been protesting and picketing over my unjust deportation to Nigeria by the Irish government.

I also thank the Socialist Party members, especially Joe Higgins TD, for their solidarity and support since my unjust deportation. Joe, for instance, had contacted members of Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM), an affiliate of the Committee for a Workers International (CWI) in Nigeria, to secure me accommodation and oversee my upkeep.

These protests from my friends and solidarity by the Socialist Party have contributed immensely to force the Irish government review this injustice and recall me. I shall forever be grateful for this.

However, I want to use this medium to appeal to my friends and school mates and Socialist Party to prevail on Irish government to review the cases of other people who have been victims of this similar injustice especially the two pregnant women that were deported with me. I also appeal to Irish government to positively review its immigration policies.

Meanwhile, I shall be addressing a press conference in Lagos tomorrow (25 March) over my ordeal and that of others in my category with a view to fight for a more humane immigration laws internationally.

Related Link: http://www.socialistworld.net
author by Davy Carlinpublication date Aoine Márta 25, 2005 12:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Some interesting reports in the papers - see it made front page Irish Times and front page Daily Ireland-

author by eeekkkkpublication date Aoine Márta 25, 2005 12:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Significant detail in Coverage: He is to be allowed to remain indefinitely according to front page story in Irish Times from paul Cullen etc.

It is amazing and heartening to see ordinary people all over the place in the media and in their communities standing up and being counted about this and standing up for their deported nigerian friends and neighbours.

From the various stories I've read today in various publications it almost seems like the MOST VUNERABLE people that could be found were targeted for this round of midnight deportations. Easy work for the big lads.

I also note from watching TV news coverage that Bertie is trying to make like this is none of his business and has nothing to do with him.

Now we may have good fun slagging Big Swinging Mickey and seeing him hoist on his own petard but the buck should at the end of the day stop with AHardhat AHardheart Ahern. Pressure should imho be brought to bear directly on him about the broken up families and the ill kids of other deported families. I mean he is happy to portray himself or be portrayed as a lover of Nigerian women and little babies (see various pics in Village and IT) and as a socialist. His feet need to be held to the fire over all this.

When is the next protest or has one been planned? Can we have it at his office?

author by Davy Carlin - Street Seen - ARNpublication date Aoine Márta 25, 2005 13:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There is other protests upcoming.
Details will be posted soon.

author by Jon Glackin - Street Seenpublication date Aoine Márta 25, 2005 14:25author email streetseen at hotmail dot co dot ukauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

There is a protest called for:

Further Details:


author by redjadepublication date Aoine Márta 25, 2005 15:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This case has united politicians across party lines against heartless policies regarding the treatment of some of the least fortunate in society. It's as though some government ministers have no appreciation of the turmoil endured on a daily basis when living as a guest in another country. It's a turmoil passed down as stories among my Irish, German and Russian forebears in the States and the root of an important message that I learned as a pre-teen--be kind to those in need. That premise could not underpin a government's policy regarding asylum seekers where draconian measures and an air of omniscience seem to be the order of the day. [DISCLOSURE: I have been refused leave to land in Ireland before and benefit from a first-hand viewpoint of the process entailed in punting people out of the country.]


-- -- -- --

There may well be more to this story than meets the eye. Yet I was struck by this story and although I can't comment on the merits of his case, the way he was deported, with little or no notice in his school uniform, seems highly inappropriate to me.


-- -- -- --

Would waiting three months to allow someone to finish their leaving cert really have made all that big difference? Would the flood gates really open? Obviously it would only be applicable to a small number of people. Having some sort of educational qualification makes a big difference to people’s lives.


-- -- -- --

I'm finding it very hard to get worked up about the case of the Nigerian student who has been deported. The law is clear, he was deported. Much of the argument for why he should be allowed to return has an underlying implication - because he was a lot like us. Let's call him white.


-- -- -- --

The u-turn is righting the terrible wrong done by McDowell's decision last week. The socialist party in Ireland among many others were campaigning for kunle's return to finish his leaving cert here in Ireland. The young students of his school in west Dublin ran a short sharp campaign which has ended in the u-turning of the justice minister of ireland.


-- -- -- --

So it seems Michael McDowell has a heart. He's letting Nigerian student, Olukunle Eluhanla, back to Ireland to finish his leaving certificate exams after deporting him just days ago.

Or is it just a big PR stunt. Let's face it, McDowell couldn't give a rat's arse about Kunle or any of the others he deported. And why should he? The rules are the rules and for every happy little Nigerian like Kunle there are 20 more involved in scams, bank machine cloning, credit card cloning, sending emails pretending to be a high Priest with €34,095,450 hidden away in a secret bank account and playing football for West Brom.


-- -- -- --

I'm wary of claims that it's the first in the world but the decision to declare Galway an anti-racist city - with resonances of the nuclear-free cities declared in yesteryear - is at least a positive move. For those who wondered what difference it would make for Labour to gain greater control of the city, this is an answer - at least a symbolic one - that will hopefully be reflected in improved on-the-ground work.


-- -- -- --

And, finally, totally unrelated but amusing....

The Onion's Irish-Heritage Timeline

author by Devil Dogpublication date Aoine Márta 25, 2005 16:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

1. He claimed asylum, this claim was found to be invalid (due process and all that) so he had no legal right to be in Ireland....or are people here arguing that the authorities should have said" ah Jaysus, seeing as you're here, you might as well stay?"

2. As an asylum seeker, he is supposed to lodge his claim in the first country he lands in...as there are no direct flights between Ireland and Nigeria, which countries was he in before he got here and why didn't he claim asylum there?

3. I believe he has been reported as working in the local Centra - as an asylum seeker, this is illegal.

4. From what/whom exactly was he claiming asylum?

Before the witless mobs accuse me of being racist and anti-immigration, I'm not....I'm all for immigration, but not doing it by false pretences through the guise of asylum seeking.

author by Alan - SWPpublication date Aoine Márta 25, 2005 17:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Just like to add to the congrats on getting mcdowell to
back down. Keep it up as we can beat him again on this and stirike another blow against the racists.

author by toneorepublication date Aoine Márta 25, 2005 21:14author email toneore at eircom dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

"So it seems Michael McDowell has a heart. "

Michael McDowell is a smart man and politically astute. He's seen the light thanks to Robert McCartney's sisters.... we need more community power to bring the high and mighty to their knees - wether they're Adams or McDowell.

author by Sinn Féinpublication date Aoine Márta 25, 2005 23:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Published: 25 March, 2005

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, referring to the decision by the Minister for Justice to allow Olunkunle Eluhanla to return to sit his leaving certificate, has said, "Just this once is not good enough minister." Deputy Ó Snodaigh has also called for an all Ireland immigration policy and for hate crime legislation to be harmonised to tackle the "alarming and unacceptable rise in racist hate crime" that we have seen across the island over the last decade.

author by eeekkkkkpublication date Sath Márta 26, 2005 13:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors


Questions surrounding deportation still unanswered
The refusals of Michael McDowell or the Garda to clarify deportation details is disturbing, writes Paul O’Brien.
NUMEROUS questions remain about the controversial circumstances in which student Olunkunle Elunkanlo was deported because both the Justice Minister and the Garda refuse to answer them.
The questions arise from the fact that the accounts of Michael McDowell and the Garda vary greatly with that of Mr Elunkanlo.
The established facts are these: Mr Elunkanlo was arrested on March 14 after presenting himself at the offices of the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) in Dublin.
That night, he was put on a chartered flight and deported to Nigeria together with 34 other people, nine of them children.

But what happened prior to, and after, the deportation is much disputed.
In an email to Deputy Joe Higgins, the 20-year-old said he had not been allowed to speak to his lawyer before being deported. Nor, he said, was he given opportunity to collect any belongings, and he was put on the plane in the clothes he was wearing at the time of arrest his school uniform.
Speaking in the Dáil on Tuesday night, the minister denied it all.
Basing his statement on a report given to him by the Garda, Mr McDowell said Mr Elunkanlo was advised to seek legal advice and given opportunity to collect his belongings, but declined.
The minister also refused to accept that the student had been deported while wearing his school uniform.
Mr McDowell went further.
"I have seen claims that the person in question was successively mugged and assaulted in Nigeria," he said.
"It is important to note that the charter flight was preceded by a senior Garda advance party, consisting of a detective inspector and detective sergeant, which situated itself in Lagos a day prior to the charter and remained there for 12 hours after the charter returned.
"On the flight, all adults, including the person who is the subject of this debate, were handed a letter by a member of the Garda team informing each of them of the presence of the two officers in the advance party in Lagos and that, upon disembarkation, they could contact them through the Nigerian immigration authorities for any necessary assistance. The person concerned did not seek any such assistance."
Mr Elunkanlo, however, says he was not given a letter while on the plane. Furthermore, based on his account of what happened upon disembarkation, he would have had little opportunity to contact the Garda officers in Lagos.
This is because, upon arrival in the city, he said he was handed over to Nigerian immigration authorities, who took him to the city's main prison, Alagbon.
Crucially, a Nigerian newspaper, "The Vanguard," last week appeared to support that claim, reporting: "On arrival, the deportees were received by police and immigration personnel, after which they were transferred to Alagbon."
Mr Elunkanlo said he eventually managed to bail himself out with the assistance of an inmate. It was after leaving the prison that he was assaulted.
On Thursday, the Irish Examiner emailed the Department of Justice a series of questions. These included:
l On March 19 in Lagos five days after his deportation from Ireland the Associated Press took a photograph of Olunkunle Elunkanlo in a school jumper. The minister said he was informed that Olunkunle was "not wearing clothes which could be described as a school uniform" when deported. How does the minister account for the discrepancy?
"The Vanguard" reported that the 35 deportees were taken to Lagos's main prison by the immigration authorities. This is consistent with Olunkunle's account of what happened to him. Does the minister accept that this was the case?
l If so, could the minister have reasonably expected that any of the 35 deportees would have been able to contact either Garda officer who remained in Lagos for 12 hours after the flight landed?
l Olunkunle's account of what happened to him differs to the account provided to the minister by the Garda. Does the minister believe that the Garda report is fully accurate?
In an emailed response, the department said the questions were a matter for the Garda press office, as they related "to operational details that are best known to the GNIB."
However, a Garda press office spokesman said the questions were, in fact, a matter for the minister. "The minister said whatever he said," he stated, before stressing that he had "no reason to believe that the (Garda) report was inaccurate."
The press office later issued a statement, which read: "An Garda Síochána carry out deportations in accordance with the law. It is not our policy to discuss individual cases."
Meanwhile, when pushed on the matter, a spokeswoman for the minister said: "He can only accept a report on face value." But, like the Garda spokesman before her, she said Mr McDowell had no reason to believe it was inaccurate.
Of course, Mr Elukanlo has now been allowed to return to Ireland, yet the questions remain. The refusal of the minister and Garda to provide clarification forms another disturbing aspect to what has proved a very disturbing case.

Related Link: http://www.irishexaminer.com/pport/web/ireland/Full_Story/did-sgy-cbYPq9jSM.asp
author by Chekovpublication date Sath Márta 26, 2005 13:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Section 4 at the link below: Alagbon, dangerous like a Lion's Den

Related Link: http://struggle.ws/africa/accounts/chekov/lagos.html
author by eeekkkkpublication date Sath Márta 26, 2005 13:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

GARDA handling of a search for family members who were to be deported in Athlone has become the subject of complaints to the Garda Complaints Board, writes Liam Horan.

Neighbours of two Nigerian women deported last week have alleged that a five-year-old child was "led around the estate" by a Gardai and questioned about the whereabouts of an eight-year-old child.

This follows recent claims by Noel Casey, deputy principal of Our Lady's Bower secondary school that garda immigration officers "stormed" into the school to snatch a pupil.

Related Link: http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/stories.php3?ca=9&si=1365614&issue_id=12257
author by redjadepublication date Sath Márta 26, 2005 17:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

New York Times
[ username mediajunkie - password mediajunkie ]

A 19-year-old high school student who came to Ireland alone from Nigeria in 2002 and was deported this month along with 34 other failed asylum seekers will be allowed to return on a six-month visa to finish his senior-year exams. The government's reversal came after widespread condemnation of its immigration policies, including criticism from Diarmuid Martin, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Dublin. The case of the student, Elukanlo Olunkunle, gained attention after reports that he was put on a plane while still wearing his Dublin school uniform and that he has no family members left in Nigeria. Justice Minister Michael McDowell had refused to make an exception to a deportation order and said he did not believe the student's statements but reversed his stand after Elukanlo's Irish classmates demonstrated outside Parliament. Brian Lavery (NYT)

-- -- --
Middle East:
Nigerian granted Ireland re-entry

-- -- --

Olunkunle’s school pals prove that the true Irish spirit is still alive

On Monday, when we reflect on what this country has achieved since independence, there should be no doubt that Ireland's greatest contribution in the international field has been made by our missionaries. A considerable proportion of them went to Nigeria, and it is probably a tribute to them that more than one-third of the people who have been seeking asylum in this country have come from Nigeria. They probably heard glowing accounts about Ireland from their teachers, and they have turned to this country in their hour of need, just as millions of Irish people turned to other countries over the centuries.


What prompted his U-turn? Was it the protest launched outside the Dáil by Eluhanla's fellow students at Palmerstown Community College? In the midst of all the talk about the yob culture and binge drinking, it was positively refreshing to see so many young people supporting Eluhanla. It is further proof that the spirit of Christian generosity is still strong among Irish people.

-- -- --

McDowell accused of changing story on deportation

Justice Minister Michael McDowell was last night accused of changing his story as to whether he had read the file of Olunkunle Elunkanlo before deciding to deport him.

-- -- --

To expel or not to expel

A Nigerian student deported 10 days ago will be allowed to return for his final exams.


There have been 105 unaccompanied minors from Nigeria seeking asylum in the past two years. Asylum seeker numbers peaked at 11,600 in 2002 but dropped to 4300 last year.

Related Link: http://www.residentsagainstracism.org
author by Chris Bond - Labour youth/ UCD Students unionpublication date Domh Márta 27, 2005 19:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ivory since when is the value of human life measured by its cost to the exchequer?

author by Video Watcherpublication date Luan Márta 28, 2005 02:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This is a pretty good video. It is informative, inspiring, and insightful. This video certainly deserves a wider audience. To coincide with the Anti-Deportation demonstration taking place on Saturday 2nd April, perhaps the Grassroots Gathering 9 could find a slot in their schedule to screen this video after the demonstration. Either way, the video is worth 350mb (or 139mb) of your monthly download limit and 40 minutes of your time.

author by Caserpublication date Luan Márta 28, 2005 12:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Australians were celebrating Easter with some direct action at Baxter Immigration Detention Centre. Over 400 protesters gathered at Baxter Detention Centre to protest Australia's mandatory detention policy. In Melbourne a solidarity action was held at Maribyrnong Detention Centre.





author by john finn - nonepublication date Máirt Márta 29, 2005 15:45author email finn0000 at hotmail dot comauthor address 75 ardlee road artane d5author phone 7116294Report this post to the editors

It is reported that the civil servants dealing with the case recommend deportation but only after the student sat his leaving cert. I would agree with this. The question is did the Minister read the recommendation or did he or a third party just rubber stamp the matter. As Ms Harney used to say someone somewhere has to do something about the matter. Answers Minister !

author by CWIpublication date Céad Márta 30, 2005 23:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Following the Irish Justice Minister’s decision to allow him back into Ireland Elukanlo Olukunle spoke at a press conference in Lagos on 25 March.

"My ordeal in Nigeria"

I have called this conference to thank my friends and school mates in Palmerstown Community School in Dublin who have been protesting and picketing over my unjust deportation to Nigeria by Irish government on March 15, 2005.

I also wish to use this medium to thank the Socialist Party members, especially Joe Higgins TD, for their solidarity and support since my unjust deportation. For instance, Joe had contacted members of Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM), an affiliate of Committee for A Workers International (CWI) in Nigeria to secure me an accommodation and oversee my upkeep as all these efforts have contributed immensely to force Irish government to review this injustice and consequently, recall me.

I had got a date, March 31, 2005 for my deportation to Nigeria and had to go to immigration centre on March 15, 2005 to lodge an appeal. From there, I was arrested and detained at Cloverhill Prison in Dublin. In the night, I was taken to Airport in Dublin without allowing me see or speak to my lawyer. There was no accusation against me and I was not given any paper to sign.

Gentlemen of the Press, I, along with 25 other adults and 9 children were put on a charted flight to Lagos from where we were locked up at Alagbon Prison. I was lucky to bail myself out through the assistance of one of the inmates who sympathized with my condition. I left the prison and had nowhere to go. In the process of walking around, I ran into some gangsters who thought I had money on me. I was attacked and molested. After this, I flagged down an incoming vehicle. The man stopped and I explained my situation to him. He took me to his house. There was no electricity, my cloths were already torn and was starving with no medication for injuries I had sustained.

I am very happy to inform you that on Thursday, March 24, 2005, I have been recalled by Irish government. I have however called this conference to draw the attention of the public to the victims of similar injustice who are not privileged to be lucky like me.

We are made to believe that the world is a global village. But it seems this assertion is meant for the rich. The rich could move their capital and investment around the world. They could relocate to live anywhere around the world. But for the poor working people, it is another ball game entirely. How could I have justified my years of schooling in Dublin and only be deported when I am due to write my Leaving Certificate examination in June, 2005? Many people have been deported in this manner and could have likely committed suicide as they will not be allowed to take a pin. In most cases, they are not allowed to take their children along. This could be frustrating.

I therefore use this medium to appeal to Irish government in particular and other governments in all the continents of the world to review their immigration policies to be more humane.

Once again, I thank all my school mates in Dublin, the Irish Socialist Party and its sister organisation in Nigeria, Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) for their support and solidarity. Without these people, I would have been wasted.

Thank you all.

Olukunle Elukanlo

author by Doniepublication date Céad Lún 31, 2005 23:14author email donie_mckenna at hotmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

With his exams now sat he'll hopefully leave!

author by Alpublication date Déar MFómh 01, 2005 03:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Cant leave if proceedings have commenced about his uninsured car ;)

author by SHpublication date Déar MFómh 01, 2005 10:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

No proceedings are taking place Al, you should no this you are a guard after all, surely you should have been kept in the loop?

Also he will be given an extended leave to remain within the next 4 weeks.

author by Alpublication date Déar MFómh 01, 2005 15:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

How the hell do you know if proceedings have commenced?

Besides, its a joke. Lighten up

author by SHpublication date Déar MFómh 01, 2005 15:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I was being lighthearted myself Al, it would be a pretty sad guard who tries to keep an eye on all proceedings taking place

author by SHpublication date Déar MFómh 01, 2005 15:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

No proceedings are taking place against Kunle, he was never charged.

author by Stephenpublication date Déar MFómh 01, 2005 18:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

To be fair lads, this case is very simple for the Minister concerned. Here we have a lad who was allowed to return on a 6 month visa to complete his leaving certificate. His leaving cert is finished and he barely passed, remember this guy said he wants to be an engineer.

In any case he has also been involved in driving without insurance. This will be the hammer blow to his hopes of staying in Ireland. He failed the asylum process so he really hasn't got a leg to stand on.

author by SHpublication date Déar MFómh 01, 2005 18:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

However you are completely wrong. Kunle has been accepted into an engineering course and he will be given extended leave to remain within the next four weeks.

author by Alpublication date Déar MFómh 01, 2005 19:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I feel a bit sorry for the guy with the leaving cert. Bad enough if you dont get the points required but even worse when its highlighted.

Same with the car, happens every day without the papers saying anything.

But on the other hand the papers were used for him to begin with so I suppose thats the way you have to play the game.

As for proceedings, he wasnt charged at the time but he could have been afterwards or may still be, more than likely a summons is winging its way to him as we speak. But its hardly worth discussion.

author by SHpublication date Déar MFómh 01, 2005 20:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Kunle has been accepted into an engineering course, i believe he is due to start it later this month.

author by Duinepublication date Aoine MFómh 02, 2005 13:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Cad é go díreach a tharla sa gcás seo?

Cad a thug ar an Aire cead a thabhairt don duine seo nuair a dhiúltaigh sé cead fuirigh roimhe seo? Brú an phobail? Athrú cúinsí? Cad é?

author by Doniepublication date Aoine MFómh 02, 2005 18:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why is he to be given leave. Compassion dictated that his lawless behavior aside that he be allowed to sit his exams but why should those who break the law be given the benfit of it!

author by SHpublication date Aoine MFómh 02, 2005 18:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Kunle has never been convicted of any offence. His arrest at the airport was for not having ID nothing else. He drove his car without insurance it was a stupid thing to do, to call him lawless is ridiculous.

author by Alpublication date Aoine MFómh 02, 2005 19:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Not to put too fine a point on it but he was also arrested on suspicion of credit card fraud. In total he has commited 3 offences minimum and he will face prosecution on some.

author by Doniepublication date Aoine MFómh 02, 2005 20:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

SH I never once used the word "convict" but you do admit that he was afoul of the law. Duly noted, I rest my point.

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