‘Be on call for Ireland.’
That’s the battle cry from the Irish health service as healthcare professionals from all disciplines are urged to row in and help hospitals lead the fight against Coronavirus.
Meanwhile, one experienced Cork-based doctor has been fighting a battle of her own.
Dr. Muna Ali Hassan, a medical doctor who has recently been awarded a Language Scholarship at the Language Centre UCC, fled Somalia because her life was threatened by a group known as Al-Shabaab. She now needs support to challenge her removal from Ireland in the High Court and has just been granted permission to seek a judicial review of her case.
Her friends have launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise €1,250 to meet the costs of the legal challenge.
Homeless in Hungary
As UCC Lecturer, International Development Mike FitzGibbon explains, Dr Hassan’s fear of Al-Shabaab and the threats made against her forced her to flee the city of Mogadishu and her country, Somalia.
“As a young educated woman, moving to another part of the country was not an option for her, as without the protection of her family she would have found herself in an even more precarious and threatening position,” he said.
“Dr. Hassan found herself in Hungary, where she applied for and was granted asylum. She was given an identity card and was referred to homeless services in Budapest. However, not having a residency card meant that she had no access to health, to employment support services and was reliant on the local food bank for sustenance.
“Anti-migrant sentiment in Hungary has grown rapidly in recent times and is steeped in anti-Muslim attitudes. She felt very unsafe in the homeless services, as she was the only Muslim woman resident there and was subjected to verbal and physical attacks. This was a period of further trauma, distress and attacks on her person. Fearing for her safety and her life, coming then to Ireland.”
On arriving here in February of 2016, Dr Hassan applied for International Protection. However, in May 2016 she was informed that she was not eligible to apply for refugee status, as she already had been granted this in Hungary.
‘The Irish medical service is in great need of qualified personnel’
“Dr Hassan has been supported by the Arabic and migrant community here in Ireland,” said Mr FitzGibbon. “During these years, she has been accommodated by several different families. While her circumstances have continued to be difficult, through the support of the community she has achieved a level of safety.”
“Dr Hussan is a very well educated woman. The Irish medical service is in great need of qualified personnel. It seems unthinkable, given the crisis situation that our medical service is in with regard to recruitment and retention of qualified staff, that Dr Hassan would be removed from the State. She is making every effort possible to engage in Irish society, and has recently been awarded a Language Scholarship at the Language Centre, University College Cork; a scholarship that will be of immense support to her in enabling her to continue in her medical profession in Ireland.”
If you would like to help Dr Hassan’s friends raise the cost of her legal fees, you can make a donation here.