Plans to deport a man allegedly involved with Islamic extremists have been put on hold following a dramatic intervention by the European Court of Human Rights which made an order temporarily preventing Ireland from deporting him.
The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, has asked the Court of Appeal to overturn a High Court order lifting an injunction which had restrained his deportation to a Middle Eastern country. The appeal court adjourned further consideration until January 13.
The court heard the man suffers from health problems and fears being tortured if he is deported due to his political activities.
He denies acting on behalf of Isil or represents a threat to national security.
He was unable to attend his appeal yesterday due to ill health.
The State, which alleges the man is "the foremost organiser and facilitator of travel by extremists prepared to undertake violent action" on behalf of Isil and the "main recruiter" in Ireland for Isil, had opposed the appeal.
As the appeal hearing before Mr Justice Michael Peart, Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and Mr Justice Alan Mahan was drawing to a close yesterday Remy Farrell SC, who appeared with barrister Anna Courtney for the State, asked the court to rise briefly so the parties could consider a significant development in the proceedings.
Following the adjournment Mr Farrell said the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights had made a temporary order preventing the deportation of the man from Ireland where he has resided for the last 15 years.
That order will stay in place until deportation proceedings have concluded.
The European Court's injunction, Mr Farrell said, "changed the landscape" of the matter before the court. He asked the court to continue to hear the case and give judgment later.
Michael Lynn SC, who appeared with barrister David Leonard and Conor O'Briain solicitors for the man, said the application to the European Court had been made by the deportee because there was no automatic stay on a deportation order in Irish law whenever an issue under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, prohibiting torture, is raised in a case.
He said the man's legal team had made the application to Europe for an interim order but had not believed a decision would have been made so soon.
After hearing the conclusion of submissions from both parties the court adjourned the case for mention on January 13 next.
The Irish appeal court said the European Court's intervention meant it would not be required to give its decision in the coming days
The man had been told he must leave the Irish State before December 30 and, failing to do that, must report to the Garda National Immigration Bureau by January 5 for deportation.
In his appeal the man, who is married and aged in his early 50's, sought to overturn a recent decision of the High Court clearing the way for his imminent deportation by the Irish authorities to the Middle East.
The man had secured residency in Ireland on the basis of the birth of his now 15-year-old son as an Irish citizen.
In March last he was told the Irish authorities intended to deport him.
His residency permit was not renewed because the boy has been living overseas with his mother for the last number of years.
The man launched several legal actions arising out of the decisions to deport him, which are pending before the court.
He also secured a temporary injunction preventing his deportation pending the outcome of his case. The State had succeeded in having that injunction set aside.
A senior Department of Justice official had told the High Court earlier that, based on intelligence amassed by gardai and their counterparts in other jurisdictions, the State believed the man was consulted by and gave directions to senior violent extremist leaders outside Ireland.