GAA came to aid of former Boston chairman during his deportation from US

GAA president Aogán Farrell has revealed the organisation came to the aid of former Boston board chairman John Cunningham during his deportation from the United States.

Donegal native Cunningham was last month detained by the US’ Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency having entered on a visa waiver in February 2000 but not leaving the country as per the terms of his visit.

Cunningham had been a prominent figure in the GAA community in the Massachusetts area, organising the 2014 All-Stars football trip to Boston, and was a member of the Board of Ambassadors for volunteer organisation Irish Network Boston.

The GAA, Farrell confirmed, made diplomatic representations to ensure he was fairly treated during his spell in Suffolk County House of Corrections.

“It is a concern from both a personal basis because I know him as a close friend and I also know him as a fantastic citizen of the United States. Not only was he a fantastic chairman of the Boston GAA but he was also a fundraiser and involved in a lot of charity work. He had a business, he was a taxpayer and he lived a very positive life so it was disappointing. But they are the rules of the United States.

“He was found to have broken them, we can’t get involved further in them.

“He’s back in Ireland now, he’s in good form, he’s positive and he’s looking forward to a new life back at home.

“All we were involved in was to make sure he was well-treated, which he was, that his period of incarceration was as quick as it could be, and it was – 21 days from arrest to deportation.”

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