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22nd Nov 2017

Halawa: “Rumour I Ripped Up My Irish Passport Is Nonsense”

James Fenton

Ibrahim Halawa has dismissed online rumours that he once ripped up his Irish passport.

The 21-year-old, who spent four years in an Egyptian prison for his part in a mass protest in 2013, was speaking with Matt Cooper on Today FM’s ‘The Last Word’ yesterday. 

Rumours had been circulating that a video exists of Halawa ripping up his Irish passport but he told Cooper that this was “nonsense.” 

He explained:

“I actually don’t know how that story got around.

“It’s with the Egyptian government at the moment, they fingerprinted me for it as well, they took my finger print from me to say they have it. So I’m trying to get it back, just to prove.

“When I was detained they said you have to have something that proves you’re an Irish citizen and they took it away from me and they said we’ll keep it with your file of charges and your whole file of the case to say you’re able to get consular visits with that Irish passport.

“So they took it because at the time that was the only ID I had, I was only 17 and I was walking around with it in Egypt because that was the only ID I had at the time. I’m trying to get it back, they Irish Embassy in Egypt are trying to get it back. I didn’t tear up my passport, it’s total nonsense, whoever spread that rumour.”

Halawa also spoke about how he is adjusting to his new-found freedom, telling Matt that he is still getting used to simple pleasures like lying in a bed and opening doors.

He has been receiving positive attention when out in the city, saying “walking down Grafton Street, a lot of people stop me for selfies. It’s very heartwarming.” 

Attempting to put to bed a consensus that he is ‘not Irish’, Halawa stressed that he “was born in The Coombe, lived in Firhouse all my life and played Gaelic and hurling.”

You can listen to the whole chat by clicking here

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