THE asylum seeker who ended his hunger strike following news that he will no longer be deported was emotional as he tucked into his first meal after almost 10 days without food.
Nadim Hussain, who is originally from India, shared an image of himself with a plate of chicken and potatoes on social media from his bed at Cork University Hospital.
The 34-year-old has been reassured that he will now be able to stay in Ireland despite previously being denied refugee status.
Nadim had pleaded with the government to make a u-turn on the decision, arguing that returning to India would put his life at risk. It comes after both his parents were killed after falling victims to anti-Muslim violence.
Mr Hussain began his hunger strike at the Kinsale Road direct provision centre, where he has lived since coming to Ireland in 2019.
Speaking from his hospital, Nadim told the Echo that he never stopped believing in the Irish people.
"Every politician who helped me, every member of the media who helped me and everyone in the rally.... I want to meet them all when I am out of hospital because each one of them has saved my life."
He explained that his recovery after the hunger strike will take some time.
"My stomach is inflamed and they are doing a lot of tests," he explained. "I don't really know what's happening so I'm taking things very slowly. I am very weak right but I know I won't be deported and that's enough for me. Up until now, I have only been allowed liquid and jelly. They are taking good care of me in the hospital. I am very happy and feel very lucky."
He extended his gratitude to the people of Ireland.
"I'd like to thank the government and the people. Even in hospital I never stopped believing in the people of Ireland. They have given me my new home. So many people made the rally and I'd also like to thank Abolish Direct Provision and everyone at the Kinsale Road Direct Provision Centre."
Mr Hussain said he was happy to have his story publicised.
"The media is a mirror because this is a true story and they have shown what is really happening."
Mr Hussain received a letter from the International Protection Appeal Tribunal (IPAT) last month, about a recommendation from the international protection officer advising that he be refused subsidiary protection and refugee status. Cork North Central TD Thomas Gould met with Mr Hussain to discuss his situation following the letter.
This sparked a campaign for him to be allowed to stay in the country which he now refers to as his new home.
"If I had to go home then I would have been killed. Ireland has saved my life."
Nadim Hussain has a job working in security, in settings such as hospitals.
During the pandemic, he continued to work for a restaurant providing take-away services. Mr Hussain said he is looking forward to working again after his recovery is complete.