‘My daughter cannot come here, it’s killing me’

Mother from Sierra Leone unable to bring 20-year-old daughter to Ireland under reunification rules

Mamusu Kamara’s 20-year-old daughter is not eligible for family reunification under current restrictions. Photograph: Mamusu Kamara

Mamusu Kamara’s 20-year-old daughter is not eligible for family reunification under current restrictions. Photograph: Mamusu Kamara

 

The first thing Mamusu Kamara did when the letter arrived confirming her application for refugee status had been successful was to call the Department of Justice and ask how to bring her children to Ireland. After seven years of separation while living in direct provision, Kamara was desperate to see her two daughters and two sons.

“I called them straight away and said I really need your help. I need to bring my kids here, I can’t live without them. It’s hell without them. I’m in hospital with high blood pressure and depression and it’s because of the separation from my children.”

Forced to leave Sierra Leone in 2010, Kamara had hoped to bring her children to Ireland shortly after her arrival. However, she lost contact with the friend who was caring for them and went four years without communication until she tracked them down in Guinea.

“She sent me pictures of my kids and I’ll never forget that moment, they looked so bad. My friend told me they were starving, that the kids were not going to school and my whole world fell apart.”

Under the International Protection Act 2015, Kamara’s 17-year-old son and 14-year-old twins will be able to join her in Ireland. However, her 20-year-old daughter is not eligible for reunification.

“To know that my daughter cannot come here after all those years of struggling is too much . . . When I told her the news she said, ‘I’ve been here with my brothers and sister suffering all this time and now you want to leave me alone?’

“They can’t do that to me. My family was already destroyed but now my daughter cannot come here, it’s killing me.”

Kamara does not know when her three younger children will arrive in Ireland and she prays her eldest daughter can also come.