Teen asylum seekers take HSE to court in effort to return to Dublin schools

 

FOUR TEENAGE asylum seekers planning to sit the Leaving Certificate next June have taken High Court proceedings against the HSE aimed at allowing them to return to schools they had previously attended in Dublin.

The four girls, who arrived in Ireland from Africa in 2008 as unaccompanied minors, were initially placed in care and had attended Dublin schools. However after they turned 18, they were relocated to adult hostel accommodation in Galway, where they are currently attending schools.

The four are seeking a High Court injunction requiring the HSE to put into place an appropriate aftercare plan, including the provision of finances, that would allow them to complete their Leaving Certificate examinations at the schools in Dublin they previously attended. The injunction would remain in place pending a full hearing of their action.

The students’ application for an injunction was heard at the High Court yesterday by Mr Justice Barry White. Following the conclusion of submissions from both sides, the judge said he would give his decision today on whether to grant an injunction.

Mel Christle SC for the girls said that after they turned 18 earlier this year, they were moved to Galway after finishing fifth year at their schools in Dublin. Mr Christle said that the move went against the advice of staff in the schools in both Dublin and Galway.

He added that if the four were Irish citizens, they would never have been moved from one location to another in the middle of their Leaving Cert cycle. One of the girls had been doing well in her studies in Dublin, she had earned Gaisce awards and had come to regard her teachers and friends in Dublin as “her family.”

Mr Christle said the four students would be regarded as vulnerable. After being moved from Dublin to Galway during the summer they were provided with adult accommodation and an allowance of €19.10 a week.

Opposing the application, Felix McEnroy SC for the HSE told the court that an injunction should not be granted. Mr McEnroy said the HSE was being asked to provide “private choices” for the four with “public funds”.

There was no legal basis for this, he said, adding that their vulnerability was being “overstated”.

Mr McEnroy also said the students were no longer in care as they were now adults.

However the HSE had clear procedures in place for the transition of “aged out” minors from the care system. He added that in the current climate of cutbacks, the HSE had to do the best it could with what it had.