Man ends 36-day hunger strike after asylum process access assured

Minister lifted deportation threat on Monday but Iranian (44) waited for confirmation

An Iranian asylum seeker, who was on hunger strike for 36 days, ended his action on Tuesday after getting assurances he will be allowed to apply for asylum in Ireland.

A planned candlelight vigil outside Globe House direct provision centre in Sligo went ahead on Tuesday evening with supporters saying they were now gathering for a celebration.

Sources close to Táiniste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald had indicated on Monday night that the threat of deportation was being lifted, but the 44-year-old had made it known he was not prepared to end his fast without written confirmation.

The department said it would be making contact though his legal team.

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Amjad Rosstami, who told supporters he would “rather die of starvation than go back to Iran”, had stopped taking liquids at the weekend, sparking concerns for his wellbeing.

Emergency department

Among those to welcome the development were Fianna Fáil TD Marc MacSharry, who met Mr Rosstami at the emergency department of Sligo University Hospital on Monday night after he was transferred by ambulance with stomach pains.

Mr MacSharry said he had pleaded with the man to end his hunger strike and was delighted “on humanitarian grounds”that he had now done so following the Minister’s intervention.

Deirdre Armstrong, who was among dozens of local people who campaigned alongside residents of Globe House, said supporters were thrilled . "We are so delighted . There was a lot of tension for a few days as people really feared for him".

She said some of the campaigners would now regroup. “We want to continue the fight to see if we can dismantle the direct provision system” she said. “We have to look at how other countries accepted us for God knows how long”.

Marese McDonagh

Marese McDonagh

Marese McDonagh, a contributor to The Irish Times, reports from the northwest of Ireland