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Wednesday 23 October 2019

Deportation row story was 'poetic licence'

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

A YOUNG Irish woman facing deportation from the US over allegations that she violated her visa by working in a bar, has claimed to have used "poetic licence" in an article she wrote where she appears to admit to working in an Irish pub.

The woman, from Co Donegal, is in the United States on a J1 graduate visa and is working as an intern for Irish Central, the online publication run by prominent Irish-American Niall O'Dowd.

She wrote an article at the beginning of May about the difficulties interns have in finding work in an area relevant to their field of study as per the terms of her visa.

In the post entitled "Battling to stay in America does not dim the bright lights of Manhattan for me" – which is not labelled as a fictional account of immigrant life – she says she worked in a New York pub on St Patrick's Day.

The article led the Boston-based, Irish-Government- funded Irish International Immigrant Centre (IIIC) to write to her, stating that she had violated the terms of her visa and that she must leave the United States by June 19.

New York immigration lawyer James O'Malley has taken up her case and says she will fight deportation on the basis that she never worked in a bar.

He told the Irish Independent: "She was writing a blog in which she took some sort of poetic or dramatic licence and put herself in the shoes of some of her colleagues or peers, people who do have to go outside of this (terms of the visa) in order to make a living here.

"My understanding is she never worked in a bar.

"She's a graduate with a degree in creative writing and that's what she wants to do. So she got her internship but she wanted to write about this experience."

Her publisher Mr O'Dowd said the article did contain elements of creative writing, saying: "What she wrote was her experience in America as she saw it, with parts of it taken as a composite of friends of hers and what they went through."

Irish Independent

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