Galway family left ‘distraught’ by arrest of former au pair

Brazilian woman (24) released after she was detained trying to visit ex-employers for holiday

A Brazilian woman who was taken to jail shortly after arriving at Dublin Airport ahead of visiting a Co Galway family for a holiday was released last night.

Paloma Aparezida Silva-Carvalho (24) previously worked as an au pair for the Muller-Wieland family in Moycullen.

Garda immigration officers are understood to have detained her as they did not believe she was coming for a holiday. They thought she intended to work while in the country.

Ms Silva-Carvalho (24), arrived from Basle, Switzerland, where she had been visiting her fiance. She was arrested at about 4pm on Tuesday in the airport and taken to the Dóchas women's prison at Mountjoy.


Ms Silva-Carvalho was released shortly before 10pm last night and was given permission to remain in the State for 10 days. However, she went straight to the airport as she wanted to leave Ireland as soon as possible due to the trauma experienced during her stay.

Earlier, a habeas corpus application at the High Court was refused and she was due to be deported to Basle this morning. However, she was later given leave to remain for 10 days.

Karin Muller-Wieland told The Irish Times that she had employed Ms Silva-Carvalho to look after her children Aoife (8) and Reuben (12) between March 2015 and September 2016.

During those 18 months, the Brazilian also studied English in Galway city. “She became one of our family. The children are mad about her and she is about them.”

Ms Muller-Wieland said Ms Silva-Carvalho had the correct visa to work and study while living here and had returned to Brazil within her permitted time.

“She was visiting her fiance in Switzerland and planned to come and see us for two months. Her mother is due to come and join her and their return flights for September 25th are booked and paid for.”

Immigration officer

She said the family expected to collect Ms Silva-Carvalho from a bus in Galway at about 7pm on Tuesday but received a call from an immigration officer in Dublin Airport at about 4pm.

Ms Muller-Wieland said she was asked to confirm the woman was coming to visit her family. “I confirmed that and then I got another call about 4.30pm saying she had been detained.”

Ms Muller-Wieland said she asked why Ms Silva-Carvalho was being held, given that she had proof of a return flight and €1,000. “They seemed to be implying she was planning to work, but apparently they don’t have to give a reason. ”

She said she was “distraught” about what had happened and travelled to Dublin yesterday to see Ms Silva-Carvalho in jail.

“The staff there were trying to do what they could for her, but it’s not a nice place and certainly not the right place for a young woman travelling alone who has done nothing wrong.”

A Garda spokesman said he could not comment on individual cases, but confirmed Brazilian nationals do not need a visa to visit Ireland for up to 90 days.

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland is Social Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times