The Salako family from Nigeria featured prominently on radio and TV yesterday, after campaigners highlighted the fact that Mary, 11, faces circumcision if she is returned to her home country.
Mary’s mother Elizabeth, who herself suffered the brutal operation, fled to Ireland almost four years ago with her daughter and two sons, Bosun, 14, and Merve, 10.
But their application for asylum has been rejected and they were ordered to report for deportation yesterday, despite glowing references from community leaders, teachers and TDs in Birr.
However, the family may now have been granted a brief reprieve, as lawyers acting on behalf of the family yesterday secured a High Court date of October 8, when they will seek a judicial review of the Salako’s case.
However, assurances from the Chief State Solicitor that deportation would be postponed until the case is heard were not forthcoming yesterday, and a spokeswoman for Justice Minister McDowell said the Department could not comment on individual cases.
The family’s solicitor, Maureen Connolly, said she would be forced to seek an injunction preventing deportation if no assurances were received.