The Irish government has confirmed that 51 Irish nationals have now passed through the Rafah border crossing from Gaza into Eygpt. As the bombing of Gaza continued on Saturday, Irish citizens had already begun to arrive in Dublin.
Among them was Ibrahim Alagha, a father of three, who planned to travel straight to Dublin city center where thousands are marching in a pro-Palestinian rally. The march across Dublin marks the sixth Saturday in a row that protests have taken place in Ireland's capital.
On Saturday morning the Irish government confirmed that 51 Irish nationals had escaped Gaza. In a statement, Tánaiste (Deputy Leader) and Foreign Minister, Micheál Martin, said "We will continue to work consistently with the relevant authorities on additional cases where these arise and to assist in instances where other Irish citizens and dependants wish to exit Gaza.
He added "I am conscious that many of those who left Gaza over the last few days have been deeply traumatized by their experience. As they return to Ireland in the coming days, they will need all of our support as they begin to restart their lives."
He went on to say he remains "deeply concerned about the situation of hostages in Gaza and call for their immediate and unconditional release...
"The high number of civilian casualties in Gaza in recent weeks is shocking. I reiterate my call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and an urgent scaling up of rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access.
"Ireland has been clear that International Humanitarian Law applies in all conflicts, in all circumstances, to state and non-state actors alike. We can not see this violence, destruction and displacement continue."
Ibrahim Alagha, an electronic engineer who lives in Dublin, told the Irish Independent when he lands he will go directly to the march in Dublin to show his solidarity for his friends and family in Gaza.
Dublin, Ireland 🇮🇪
HUGE numbers out again this afternoon to support the Palestinian people. Despite the Government @LeoVaradkar @MichealMartinTD & @EamonRyan voting against @SocDems & @sinnfeinireland proposals to hold Israel to account for the Genocide in Gaza… pic.twitter.com/Zx2jlFmvT7— Mick Caul (@caulmick) November 18, 2023
“When we get back, I will bring my family back to our home in Blanchardstown. Then I will head straight to the demonstration. It is very important to me to be there, to show my solidarity and support for all of the people we had to leave behind. We cannot wait to get back to Ireland but we were sad to leave so many loved ones behind,” he added.
On Saturday he landed in Dublin, hugged his mother, Marwa, and cried.
Saeed Sadeq, 21, from The Bohola, County Mayo was also reunited with his family.
He told the Irish Independent “I was afraid of getting killed, murdered by an Israeli airstrike. After being home now to Ireland I feel safe, I feel now I will be able to continue to live my life like a normal person.
"For 40 days I lived in Gaza. We had no electricity, no water, no supplies. It was a disaster.
Sadeq plans to visit a therapist once he's back home in Mayo.
"I think I have to talk to a proper person who can understand me. I need to forget all of what I have seen in Gaza. I saw dead bodies everywhere, airstrikes everywhere. It was a disaster.”
He continued "I feel so sorry to the people who I love and care about. They’re only guilty of being Palestinians and they don’t have foreign passports.
"So they will stay in Gaza, they will not get evacuated from Gaza and I don’t know in the future if I’m going to be able see them again.
"I’m lucky, I’m happy. But at the same time, I feel so sorry for them."
The children of Belfast-born Khalid El-Estal, 30, have been allowed through the Rafah border crossing. El-Estal's wife and other family members were killed in Gaza while he was working in Saudi Arabia, reports The Belfast Telegraph.
His four-year-old son Ali and one-year-old daughter Sara are expected to arrive at Dublin Airport on Sunday.