'A Girl from Mogadishu' an inspiration to us all

22 February 2019

by Joe Costello

Labour representative for Dublin Central, Joe Costello has said the film 'A Girl from Mogadishu' is an inspiration to us all. He said:

"The film “A Girl from Mogadishu” is being premiered tonight, Friday, 22 February, in the Odeon Cinema Complex at the Point Village in the Dublin Docklands. It is a momentous occasion. An amazing story of a young girl, Ifrah Ahmed, who left a refugee camp in her native country of Somalia and found a new life in Ireland.

"Damaged by her experience of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Somalia she determined to fight to criminalise and outlaw the barbarous practice in Ireland. She then returned to Somalia to carry on the campaign there. Now with the establishment of the Ifrah Foundation she is the international figure associated with the abolition of FGM worldwide.

"In Ireland her campaign under the banner of the United Youth of Ireland was successful and legislation was passed in 2012 banning the practice of FGM under penalty of 14 years imprisonment.

"I was pleased to have worked with Ifrah almost from the time she arrived in Ireland and I supported her campaign meetings and functions as a TD. As Minister for Trade and Development I spoke at many of her campaign functions and briefed the Somalian authorities at the highest level of the extraordinary work she was doing in Ireland.

"Emer Costello was an MEP at the same time and helped Ifrah to take the campaign to the EU Parliament where further widespread support was garnered and the European Commission introduced an action plan to seek to eliminate FGM.

"Ifrah’s work was not always appreciated among members of her own community, many of whom believed that FGM was a religious, cultural and traditional practice which should not be interfered with. She was determined not to be deterred by hostility and threats and her superb organisational abilities ensured that she was able to carry the campaign to fruition with her United Youth of Ireland group.

"Ifrah’s determination to end FGM in her adopted country demonstrates the determination, motivation and ability that so many immigrants bring with them when they leave their own countries fleeing persecution and poverty and come to a new country seeking a new life.

"I look forward to tonight’s premiere, to the overall success of the film and to the eventual success of Ifrah’s lifelong campaign to eliminate the inhuman practice of female genital mutilation."