The “imminent” deportation of a Nigerian man has been delayed by eight days so he can seek to appeal the High Court’s refusal to allow him to challenge the deportation order.
Ms Justice Niamh Hyland rejected the man’s application seeking permission to bring a case against the Minister for Justice’s order to deport him. However, she extended an injunction, granted by her colleague earlier this week, preventing his deportation until her decision to dismiss his application takes effect on December 15th.
She had “no hesitation” in refusing to grant him an order restraining his removal from the State pending the assessment of an application seeking permission to remain here as the alleged parent of two Irish-born children living in the State.
This was an “unusual” request, she said, as the man, who cannot be identified, has not even begun this application.
The man, who is in his 30s, says he arrived in this State in 2006 and has a series of criminal convictions, including for assault causing harm and threatening to kill, which led to imprisonments. He says these arise out of his addiction to alcohol, which “completely” took over his life, making it “impossible” for him to sustain a job for a long period.
Since his release from prison in late 2021 he has engaged with a community organisation to improve himself and to try to become a role mode for his children, he says in legal documents.
He was notified in late 2020 of the Minister’s intention to deport him. A July 2021 deportation order cited the nature and seriousness of his offences, his apparent lack of remorse for them, and the State’s right to remove him to protect the public against further serious crime, he says.
The court heard the man indicated in response that he intended to apply for permission to remain here under the scheme for parents of Irish-born Irish-based children. The Minister could not accept an initial application because he had not shown documentary evidence of his children’s residence in the State or of his role in their lives. However, he was told he could reapply, the court heard.
The deportation order was revoked and he went on to unsuccessfully apply for international protection and leave to remain. The Minister last May issued an order for his deportation, the court heard.
He is currently detained and was due to be deported earlier this week. He asked the High Court to allow him to challenge the May deportation order.
The Minister, through her counsel Maeve Brennan, opposed his request, submitting that the order is valid. She said the court cannot restrain a deportation on the basis that the man “may or may not” submit an application.
The Minister considered all aspects of his family life in her earlier decision refusing leave to remain, and this decision is not under challenge, Ms Brennan added.
Barrister Ewaen Fred Ogieriakhi, instructed by solicitor Geoffrey Nwadike, for the man, said there are Irish citizen children involved in this case. His client is entitled to at least make his application to the Minister, he said.
Ms Justice Hyland said it is “very unusual” that the man does not criticise any aspect of the deportation order, but rather argues there is a possibility he could be permitted to stay if he successfully applies under the scheme for parents of Irish children.
She rejected his contention that the State has precluded him in any way from making such an application.
The Minister more than two years ago told him he could resubmit an application as an alleged father of two Irish children, and it is “absolutely critical” to this case that he did not do that.
Ms Justice Hyland noted the Minister contested that the man is the biological father of the two children, who were also applicants in the case along with his alleged partner.
However, she proceeded on the basis that she should consider their constitutional rights. Here, it seems the man never lived with the children and there is “simply no evidence” of a family connection or that the children’s rights would be so adversely affected that refusing to stop his deportation would be against their constitutional rights.
After refusing the man’s application, she granted a stay on the effects of her decision until next Friday so he can seek to appeal. She heard his deportation would otherwise be “imminent”.
She awarded the Minister her legal costs.