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Sinn Féin TDs appeal to Justice Minister to reverse deportation decision

14 August, 2003

Sinn Féin's TDs have issued a joint letter to the Minister for Justice Michael McDowell calling for an immediate reversal of the decision to deport thousands of non-national families with Irish citizen children.

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD said:

"With the deadline to argue their case before the Department of Justice already past, many of these 11,000 families face imminent deportation, despite the children's Irish citizenship and their right to the care and company of their parents, as guaranteed by the 1937 Constitution and the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child.

"The Department of Justice is wrong to treat last January's Supreme Court decision as a mandate to deport these people. In effect, the Government's policy creates a two-tier citizenship based on race or ethnic origin. This is also wrong.

"In many cases there is a risk that these Irish children may be expelled to countries where they will not qualify for citizenship - thus rendering them stateless - or where they and their families will face the same dangers that caused their parents to seek asylum in the first place. This constitutes a gross violation of the State's responsibility to protect its citizens, and to cherish all the children of the nation equally.

"As fellow Irish citizens and as republicans we cannot stand idly by and allow this to happen unchallenged. Therefore, on an urgent basis, the Sinn Féin TDs have asked the Minister, in the name of human decency and in view of Ireland's international, equality and human rights obligations, to reverse the decision immediately, and to provide explicit protection for the rights of these childrenin legislation." ENDS

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