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Government's policy on deportations illegal under EU law

19 October, 2004


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has today called upon the Minister for Justice Michael McDowell to 'move immediately to regularise the status of the non-national parents of approximately 11,000 Irish citizen children, as the Government's present policy would likely be found illegal under EU law in view of the ECJ ruling on Chen'.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh made his comments after the European Court of Justice ruled in favour of Man Levette Chen, the non-national mother of a Belfast-born child EU citizen. The ECJ found that as an EU citizen the infant has an equal right to reside in her country of origin in the care and company of her parents.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

"In light of the decision in the Chen case, I am once more calling upon the Minister to move immediately to regularise the status of the non-national parents of approximately 11,000 Irish citizen children. Under the Government's present policy these Irish children presently face either separation from their parents or effective exile from Ireland. This is fundamentally unjust. They have the equal right to remain in Ireland in the care and company of their parents as do Irish children with Irish citizen parents, and the ECJ has now confirmed this.

"This landmark decision calls into question the legitimacy of the policy of this government in regards to deportations of these parents, which may be illegal under EU law in view of the findings of the European Court of Justice this morning.

"Sinn Féin has consistently argued that the government's policy is both regressive and inhumane. We now require a commitment from the Minister for Justice to recognise the significance of this ruling and to immediately grant residency rights to the non-national parents of Irish citizens.

"I have submitted a motion to the Dail to move to adjourn normal business so that this important and groundbreaking decision can be discussed." ENDS

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