ALGERIAN Ali Haddad has finally been granted Irish residency after living "in the shadows" as an undocumented citizen for 37 years.
Now aged 58, he first arrived here at the age of 21 and because he was undocumented, he could not access any state supports.
He was forced to use casual work and relied on the generosity of friends to support himself to live a life, both on the streets and in temporary homes.
After the Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI) highlighted his case, Justice Minister Alan Shatter used his powers of discretion to grant Mr Haddad residency.
Mr Haddad, who at the moment is staying with a friend in Rathgar, Dublin, said: "To be finally recognised in a country which has been my home for 37 years is overwhelming. I am no longer forced to live in the shadows but can seek work to support myself and play an active role in the community."
He said that he wanted to thank his friends and those people who gave him a chance by offering him work and shelter over the years.
After originally coming to Dublin in 1976 as an aviation student, he chose to remain after a military coup in his native Algeria.
Some years ago, his Algerian passport expired, and Mr Haddad was unable to travel to London, where he could have renewed it at the Algerian embassy.
Hilkka Becker, a senior solicitor with the ICI, said: "We are delighted for Ali that he now has an opportunity to seek work, secure a permanent residence and have stability in a country which has been his home for his adult life.
"In particular we want to acknowledge the discretion used by the minister in granting Ali his status."
She said that it was important that Ireland, which has mobilised its political and diplomatic influence on this issue in the US, introduces a clear pathway for those who are undocumented to regularise their situation and be given an opportunity of security in a country which is their home.