Organisations call for suspension of refugee deportations

CHILDREN’S welfare organisations and refugee support groups expressed deep concern for families affected by the Supreme Court ruling that foreign-born parents of Irish-born children can be deported with or without their offspring.

The Children’s Rights Alliance, which represents 72 charitable and voluntary organisations including the ISPCC, Barnardos and the Society of St Vincent de Paul, called for a suspension of deportations until a plan is in place to deal with the implications for the children involved.

The Department of Justice last night refused to comment on whether it believed it had any responsibility for children forced to leave with their parents once they had left Ireland, or to speculate on how it would care for children left behind here.

But Children’s Rights Alliance chief executive Ray Dooley warned the Supreme Court decision did not absolve the State of its responsibility for the children and urged the Government to take the view that while it now had the right to deport their parents, it did not have to do so.

Philip Watt, director of the National Consultative Committee on Racism, said there was an urgent need to clarify the position for families who had withdrawn their asylum applications when a child was born to them during their stay in Ireland because they believed they no longer needed to pursue their claims.

The Irish Refugee Council called for a moratorium on deportations until implications had been worked out for all involved.

Minister for State at the Department of Justice Willie O’Dea said uprooting families already settled here would raise “huge difficulties”. Every case would have to be individually reviewed and it was likely there would be many legal challenges, he said.

Fine Gael said the ruling left serious questions to be addressed while the Labour Party said it exposed the inability of the Government to devise coherent policy for dealing with the issues of asylum and immigration.

The Green Party called for an amnesty for all parents of Irish-born children already residing in the State.

The Immigration Control Platform welcomed the ruling.

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