'We'll be killed if we go back', say family as 4,000 sign deportation petition
A Pakistani family with three young children facing possible deportation has spoken out about fears of being killed if they are deported.
A students' union campaign was launched yesterday to fight the possible deportation of Mehwish (29) and Muhammed Sadiq (34) and their three children, aged three, six and eight.
The family's leave to remain application has been rejected by the Department of Justice, which would have allowed them to stay in Ireland.
They received a decision from the department on Friday, which refused their application and gave them five days to voluntarily leave the country.
In most cases, once a leave to remain application is rejected, a deportation order soon follows.
Speaking to the Herald, Ms Sadiq said that she fears her family will be killed if they are forced to return to Pakistan.
"We're afraid to bring back our children and it's really, really hard.
"We think about our children and if we can't stay in Ireland, where will we go? If we're not alive, what will happen to our children?" she said.
Ms Sadiq is a third-year early years education student at DCU thanks to the college's University of Sanctuary scholarship, which allows refugees and asylum seekers to complete third-level education.
DCUSU yesterday issued an open letter to Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan and a petition - boasting more than 4,000 signatures - to keep the family in the country.
They have been in Ireland for nearly four-and-a-half years after previously living in Manchester after leaving Pakistan.
The family currently lives in the direct provision centre in Mosney and previously lived in the Claremont direct provision centre in Co Mayo.
"Living in Mayo was very difficult because there were three of us and we had two small bedrooms," Ms Sadiq added.
She studied for a FETAC level five in early education while living in Claremont and gave birth to her youngest son there.
The family then moved to Dublin seeking better opportunities for their children.
Ms Sadiq applied for the University of Sanctuary scholarship and began studying at DCU two years ago.
"I've been studying full time for two years which has been very difficult because I have three kids which are all very young," she said.
"I would spend the entire day at college and looking after the kids and then studying all night, preparing for exams and doing assignments. Some nights I stay up until nine or 10 in the morning."
Ms Sadiq has passed all her exams and wants to continue her education in Ireland.
"My two youngest children were born in England and Ireland so they've never been to Pakistan. They don't know what life is like there," she added.
"I really want to stay in Ireland because it's an environment that's safe.
"We feel safe and our kids can have a bright future here. That's the main goal."
Mr Sadiq's application for his right to work was rejected, which motivates Ms Sadiq to graduate and go into full-time employment.