Her husband Victor has a serious heart problem and high blood pressure. The slightest movement causes him to wheeze heavily.
The Romanian couple are at their wits end since their grandson - who they’ve reared since a baby - was suddenly deported.
A little over two weeks ago, Marcel Bogdan went to the offices of the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) with his grandparents. The previous Friday Bogdan, who has lived here for four years, had been notified in writing he was to be deported. He was requested to go to the offices on the Monday to discuss the arrangements.
When he arrived officers took the 20-year-old into custody deeming him to be a flight risk.
“They kept Marcel. We very upset. We didn’t speak to him,” said Ilena in broken English.
Family friend, Viorel Olar, who speaks English, said: “Ilena started crying. The guards said to her ‘no cry, no cry, next week you follow him home’.”
Although the Rus’s knew they were legally here on humanitarian grounds, the comment only added to the anguish.
Victor, 67, who has had four heart operations in Ireland, found the experience very traumatic. Ilena, 64, said she rang Bogdan’s solicitor, Maureen Connolly, who spent all night trying to find him.
She said the solicitor could not get information from GNIB. Eventually, Cloverhill Prison was able to tell her Bogdan was in custody.
Later, GNIB confirmed he was in custody, but would not tell her the arrangements for deportation. At 9.10am the following day Bogdan was flown out of the country, without any opportunity to talk to either his grandparents or solicitor.
Ilena said Ms Connolly was still in communication with Justice Minister Michael McDowell when the deportation took place.
Ms Connolly was not aware of the gravity of Victor’s ill-health and only received letters from his doctors after the deportation.
Ilena said the solicitor would be asking the minister to reconsider his decision and bring Bogdan back on the basis the legal process wasn’t completed.
Bogdan was reared by his grandparents since he was abandoned by his parents at six weeks of age. He has provided a crucial service for his grandparents, who have very little English, particularly when talking to Victor’s doctors and in monitoring Victor’s pacemaker.
Clutching her face in anguish, Ilena adds: “We were family. Now gone. Now, No eat, no sleep, no feel good.”