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Healthcare workers are facing deportation in Ireland in the middle of a pandemic.
Healthcare staff are dealing with deportation in Ireland in the midst of a pandemic.

Lily was taking her lunch break on the Dublin nursing house the place she works when a buddy referred to as with the information that an official-looking letter had arrived for her. 

She requested the buddy to open it and skim it aloud.  

You not have permission to stay within the State and it’s essential to now return voluntarily to your nation of origin or be deported,” the letter, from Ireland’s Department of Justice and Equality said. It told her she had five days to inform the authorities of her decision. 

A flood of emotions rushed up at her, through the layers of her protective equipment. Lily said she wanted to cry, but forced the tears back down inside. 

“I needed to keep sturdy for the residents,” she said. “So, I placed on a smile however deep down it was extremely painful.”

Lily — whose name has been changed for her safety — said she fled anti-LGBTQ persecution in her native Zimbabwe and came to Ireland in 2016. 

She wanted to help others, so studied to qualify as a healthcare assistant; she landed a job as a care worker at a nursing home last year, and hopes to study for her nursing degree in future. 

She has labored on the care house all through the coronavirus pandemic, taking solely three weeks off when she contracted the virus herself in April. 

Near the beginning of the pandemic, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organization reported that Ireland had the highest rate of Covid-19 infection among healthcare workers anywhere in Europe.

Once she had recovered, Lily returned to work. In the months that followed, she said she watched as the disease took the lives of some of the elderly residents she had cared for. 

“There have been so many individuals dying. It was insufferable,” she said.

Now, with deportation looming, Lily feels she’s facing something akin to her own death sentence.

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They saved lives during the pandemic -- now they're facing deportation from Ireland

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