Saturday 19 October 2019

Irish family of sick boy (3) classed as tax 'burden' allowed stay in Australia

'A huge weight has been lifted'

Darragh Hyde, whose cystic fibrosis meant his family faced deportation from Australia. Photo:
Darragh Hyde, whose cystic fibrosis meant his family faced deportation from Australia. Photo:

Mícheál Ó Scannáil

An Irish family who had been facing deportation from Australia because their sick son was considered a “burden” to the state have been allowed stay.

Anthony and Christine Hyde, and their three-year-old son Darragh, were facing imminent deportation after their application for permanent residency was refused on account of Australian-born Darragh’s Cystic Fibrosis making him a “burden” to the healthcare system.

There had been a public outcry over the Hyde family's plight with more than 120,000 people signing a petition calling for the family to be allowed to stay.

The family, who moved to Victoria in 2009, has now received a last minute reprieve however, after they appealed the decision of the Australian Department of Home Affairs.

The initial appeal was to the Administrative Review Tribunal, who does not have the power to overturn the original ruling. They did however make a recommendation that their case to be referred to the immigration minister, David Coleman, who, under pressure from the Australian public, granted the family permanent residency on Friday.

While Darragh’s disease progression is much slower than usual for Cystic Fybrosis, and he is expected to live a full life with no cognitive issues, he relies on the drug Kalydeco to survive.

The drug costs $300,000 (€187,000) a year, but is subsidised under the Australian pharmaceutical benefits scheme. Under their migration law, costs for the drug cannot exceed $40,000 (€25,000) a year.

The Hydes were worried that if they were forced to return to Ireland, that they would have to wait at least a year before Darragh could receive the treatment he needs. In a post on her petition blog, which received over 120,000 signatures, Christine said that a huge weight had been lifted.

“Thank you to everyone who supported us,” she said in a blog post.

“Late yesterday evening we received the good news that we were granted residency. We are so excited, a huge weight has been lifted and we can continue our lives. We will are completely grateful to everyone!”

The Hydes now avoid the expiration of their visa, which was originally due to occur on June 18 before their review was granted. 

They can now return to normal life in the Victorian town of Seymour, where Christine works as an assistant principal and Anthony is employed by SkyBus and volunteers for the State Emergency Service.

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