Separated child thanks McDowell for chance to make his mark in Ireland

AS a Nigerian refugee living in Ireland it is not often that people in my position have an opportunity to thank the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Michael McDowell.

However, I would like to take that opportunity now to express my gratitude to the minister for recently granting me leave to remain in Ireland. I also want to acknowledge the support of a wide range of groups and individuals, including TDs, senators, Foróige, the National Youth Council of Ireland, Sports Against Racism Ireland, City of Dublin VEC and the Dun Laoghaire Refugee Project who represented me and lobbied extensively on my behalf.

I have been living in Ireland for two-and-a-half years, having arrived as a separated child from Nigeria. I have undertaken voluntary work including running a Foróige youth club for other separated young people. Having got leave to remain, I am determined to show that I can continue to contribute to Irish society. I am finishing my studies and I hope to get a job soon.

There are approximately 200 separated children, now aged over 18, who have been in Ireland for a number of years. They have been educated here, but they are in a very vulnerable situation. They do not have family support and face the possibility of deportation.

I urge the Government to take on board the concerns of many TDs, community groups and religious leaders who are campaigning for these young people to be treated as a special case within the asylum system.

For other young people in my situation, I strongly encourage them to get involved in youth and community groups for their own development and to enrich this society.

Johnson Godwin

8A Morehampton Road

Donnybrook

Dublin 4

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