On Tuesday, Nigerian asylum seeker Olayinka Ijaware, who was 7½ weeks pregnant, was taken to the Rotunda Hospital from Dublin Airport where she awaiting deportation with several others.
After suffering a miscarriage, she was taken back into Garda custody and returned to Dublin Airport, where she was scheduled to be deported, along with several other Nigerian asylum seekers.
After sitting on the runway for some time, however, the flight was cancelled without explanation late on Tuesday night.
The IRC said it was “appalled” by the decision to detain the woman just hours after she suffered a miscarriage.
Rosanna Flynn of the Residents Against Racism group, who was with Ms Ijaware at the Rotunda, said she had a letter from the woman’s doctor saying she was unfit to travel.
Ms Ijaware’s solicitor Brian Burns said he faxed the letter from the Rotunda to the Garda National Immigration Bureau office at Dublin Airport yesterday evening, and discussed her medical status with gardaí. However, they told him a doctor at the airport had assessed her as fit to travel.
Ms Flynn said the woman and her two children, aged seven and five, were part of a “mass deportation”, whereby immigration police from the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) enforce deportation orders made by the minister.
“They arrive at hostels early in the morning, 5am, without anyone knowing, to take them to the airport,” she said.
“This woman has been living in Tramore, Co Waterford, for about four years. She had her application for asylum rejected, but was intending to appeal. Her lawyers were preparing a case and she was not expecting this to happen to her.”
Head of the IRC Sue Conlan said the incident highlights how people are treated in an inhumane manner during the deportation process.
Ms Ijaware and her children are currently at the Balseskin reception centre in Finglas, where they are awaiting a decision on their case.