Five-year-old Diana Mirza was brought to Romania for the summer holidays to stay with her father’s parents. Her parents felt the warm, dry summer in Romania would help Diana, who has a chest condition.
Gabriel Mirza, a freelance journalist, flew with her to Romania. He purchased return tickets for Diana and his mother Elena, 67, who was to accompany her back on the flight to Shannon at the end of her holiday.
But the Department of Justice refused a tourist visa to Mrs Mirza, claiming that she had no economic, social or professional ties with Ireland.
Yesterday, Stella Tonita, Gabriel’s partner and mother of Diana, said the basis for the refusal was amazing.
Ms Tonita, 30, said: “Mrs Mirza has no intention of wanting to stay on in Ireland. Her husband and her home are in Romania. They have an apartment and a home in the country. They have no intention of leaving Romania. All she wants is to accompany Diana back to Ireland and see her newborn grandson, Mark. We can’t go ahead with the Orthodox christening ceremony.”
Ms Tonita said they had bought flight tickets for Diana and Mrs Mirza and could not afford new tickets for Gabriel to go to Romania to bring Diana back.
“My parents came over during the summer to see the baby and had no problems with getting a visitor’s visa. The reasons they gave for refusing Mrs Mirza are not valid. I spoke by phone to Diana on the phone yesterday. She had a lovely summer in Romania but wants to come home to Limerick to see her baby brother for the first time and to return to school. She attends the Model School.”
Mayor of Limerick Diarmuid Scully has taken up the family’s case. He described the refusal to give Mrs Mirza a temporary visitor’s visa as ‘bureaucratic bloody mindedness’.
Ms Tonita is on maternity leave from her job at the University of Limerick Concert Hall.
She and Mr Mirza have work visas and intend to apply for citizenship.