Thursday 23 May 2019

Eric's case is to be re-examined by government

Eric Zhi Ying Xue.
Eric Zhi Ying Xue.

Mary Fogarty

St Cronan's pupil Eric Zhi Ying Xue (9) does not face an imminent threat of deportation, Minister for Health Simon Harris has confirmed.

School principal Maeve Tierney said that the family now has a little bit of time in order to provide new information for the Minister for Justice.

'It's a pause,' she said. 'And that was the first thing that's needed. We are working very hard with the family to put a case together.'

Minister Harris was speaking on The Last Word on Today FM recently when he said that there would be a review of the case. Eric's mother is from China, and not living in Ireland legally. However, Eric has never lived anywhere else.

'I've just got some good news very recently from the Department of Justice, which I've conveyed to Eric's family, that there is no imminent threat of deportation,' Minister Harris told Matt Cooper. 'That's all I ever called for, that's all Eric's family ever asked for, was an opportunity for a humanitarian review of the case to take place.

'The idea that a nine-year-old boy who is as much from Wicklow as I am, as much from Ireland as I am, would be told that he is "going back" to China, a country he had never been to, was simply ludicrous.'

More than 50,000 people had signed a petition appealing to Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan to revoke the deportation order. While the department has indicated that petitions will have no bearing on such cases, Ms Tierney believes that without the petition and subsequent media attention there would not have been a reprieve.

If Eric was deported, he would have no access to China's health or education systems because he is not a Chinese citizen. Eric's mother Leena Mei Mei Xue, was 19 when she arrived in Ireland illegally in 2006. She has been appealing a deportation order for the past three years with the final appeal rejected in June.

The legislation behind this predicament dates back to the 27th amendment of the Constitution Act of 2004. This amended the Constitution of Ireland to provide that children born on the Ireland to parents who were both foreign nationals would no longer have a constitutional right to Irish citizenship.

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