DCU students campaign against deportation of ‘model citizen’

Shepherd Machaya is due to be deported to Zimbabwe after his asylum application was refused

Students at Dublin City University are campaigning to prevent the deportation of a scholarship student who is mid-way through his college degree.

Shepherd Machaya, originally from Zimbabwe, has been living in the direct provision for several years and obtained a place at DCU under its "university of sanctuary" programme.

His application for asylum has been rejected by authorities and the union believes he is due to be deported over the coming days.

DCU's students' union has called on the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan to revoke his deportation order immediately. Students held a protest outside the Department of Justice this week calling on Minister Flanagan to revoke Shepherd Machaya's deportation order.


The union's president Vito Moloney Burke said Shepherd Machaya was a "model citizen" through his commitment to study and his willingness to contribute to society.

“We urge Minister Flanagan to prevent him from being forcibly returned to a place where he was tortured and his best friend was murdered,” Mr Moloney Burke said.

He said the student faced the threat of “torture from political groups that he came here to escape” and sending him back to Zimbabwe is in no one’s best interest.

The union has launched a “save our Shepherd” campaign online to help convince authorities to revoke his planned deportation.

The campaign comes at a time when schools and education institutions are mobilising to help prevent the deportation of students served with deportation orders.

Earlier this week, St Cronan's primary school in Bray, Co Wicklow, launched a campaign to prevent the deportation of a nine-year-old pupil Eric Zhi Ying Xue.

It set up a public petition on Tuesday requesting that Mr Flanagan revoke the deportation order. By Thursday afternoon it had attracted more than 35,000 signatures.

Last week, Offaly teenager Nonso Muojeke was spared from deportation to Nigeria following a campaign by his school - Tullamore College - and the wider community.

The Department of Justice confirmed last week that a deportation order against the 14-year-old and his family had been revoked.

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent