A bequest to University College Cork (UCC) has been revoked in protest against the university’s position on asylum seekers.
The bequest, which is understood to be worth several hundreds of thousands of euro, was originally pledged by immigration campaigner Áine Ní Chonaill. However, she has now announced that she has revoked the bequest because of UCC’s support for a family seeking asylum in Ireland.
According to the Irish Times, the founder of Immigration Control Platform, which wants tougher immigration rules for Ireland, made her will in 2009. As a former student at the university she chose to leave almost her entire estate to it.
Her revocation of the bequest followed UCC’s support for one of its computer science students, Hamza Khan. The University had given him a Sanctuary Scholarship, an opportunity provided to eligible refugees and asylum seekers.
However, Mr Hamza, his Pakistan-born parents and four siblings, who all came to Ireland in 2017 from Saudi Arabia via the UK, had faced deportation until a last-minute intervention by Charlie Flanagan, the Minister for Justice. Their asylum application had been rejected last month, resulting in a campaign, supported by UCC, the Edmund Rice Trust and the children’s schools, to allow them to be granted permission to stay in Ireland.
Ms Ní Chonaill accused the UCC of “unacceptable arrogance”, according to the Irish Times, by calling for the Khan family to be allowed to remain, despite being refused protection by the Irish authorities.
The UCC, however, argued that it supports the “integration of those who are disadvantaged, and the promotion of their full participation, in society.”
In a statement, it said: “Since becoming a University of Sanctuary in 2018, UCC offers a pathway to education for asylum seekers and refugees, who obtain the required academic merit. UCC will continue to support equality and diversity in society.”
Ms Ní Chonaill stated: “My quarrel is with UCC effectively taking the position that once they have given a sanctuary scholarship to someone in the asylum process they must not, and their family must not, be removed from the country.”
She added that, even if a judicial or ministerial review overturned the decision and allowed the Khans to remain in Ireland, she would still revoke her bequest to UCC.
In 2018 UCC raised €1.7 million through its foundation, most of which came from donations.
Photo: University College Cork by Jennifer Boyer on Flickr.com
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