Saturday 19 October 2019

'Deportation laws should be upheld' - Casey

Presidential candidate Peter Casey. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Presidential candidate Peter Casey. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Conor McCrave

Conor McCrave

Presidential candidate Peter Casey has said if the law has been broken, it must be upheld in the case of a nine-year-old boy facing deportation.

Eric Zhi Ying Xue, from Bray, Co Wicklow - whose mother is Chinese - is facing deportation to China following unsuccessful appeals to remain in Ireland.

Despite being born in Ireland, the boy faces being deported as Irish legislation does not grant him a right to citizenship here.

Mr Casey said the case was tragic, but the law must be respected.

"That's a tragic situation, it really is.

"On one hand the law has been broken [and] the law has to be enforced," he said.

"I don't know the full facts of it. If the law has been broken, the law has to be enforced."

Mr Casey said he required more information before he would make a definite opinion on the case.

"I need to really understand it better to give a more balanced and more defined judgment on it," he added during an interview with LMFM.

A referendum in 2004 removed the birthright to citizenship for children born in Ireland to foreign-born parents.

An online petition addressed to the Justice Minister and supporting the young boy's plea to remain here has amassed more than 50,000 signatures.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said the case is currently being reviewed but that there was a small number of just 134 deportation orders against minors in the past five years.

Health Minister Simon Harris has also backed calls for the Wicklow native to be permitted to stay in Ireland, citing humanitarian reasons.

Mr Casey has come under fire in recent weeks for controversial comments around the ethnic background of Travellers, leading to calls for his withdrawal from race for the presidency.

The presidential hopeful considered dropping out of the race just a week before the country goes to the polls following criticism of his recent remarks.

In an open letter in last weekend's 'Sunday Independent', Mr Casey also said Ireland had become a welfare state where there was a "sense of entitlement".

"We have become a nation of people who expect, no demand, that the State looks after them," he said.

However, the former 'Dragon' said that he would continue with his campaign for the presidency after receiving "thousands" of messages of support for his vision for the Presidency.

Irish Independent

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