Deportation flight to Nigeria cancelled


GARDAÍ LAST night insisted that a Nigerian asylum seeker who says she was bleeding as a result of a miscarriage in recent weeks was medically assessed as being fit to be deported.

This follows controversy yesterday over the circumstances in which Olayinka Ijaware, a mother of two, was being prepared for deportation to Nigeria on Tuesday night. The flight was later cancelled without explanation.

Ms Ijaware was brought to the Rotunda Hospital on Tuesday afternoon after suffering bleeding linked to an apparent miscarriage.

Supporters of the woman had told The Irish Times on Tuesday that the miscarriage occurred just hours before she was due to be deported. However, the woman said yesterday the miscarriage had occurred last month after almost eight weeks of pregnancy, but she had suffered bleeding and complications over recent weeks.

After being treated in the Rotunda on Tuesday, the doctor who dealt with her wrote a letter advising caution over her condition. “To whom it concerns, the above named patient is unfit for air travel if she is actively bleeding per vagina. If you have queries, please do not hesitate to contact us,” the letter said.

The Irish Times had mistakenly quoted the letter as saying: “To whom it concerns, the above named patient is unfit for air travel. She is actively bleeding per vagina.”

A spokeswoman for the Garda yesterday said that while she did not wish to comment on Ms Ijaware’s case, she said it was the Garda’s policy to ensure that anyone facing deportation was in a fit condition to fly.

“We would not place anyone on a flight that is not certified as fit to travel,” she said.

In this case, it is understood that the Garda National Immigration Bureau had a doctor at the airport who assessed Ms Ijaware as fit to travel, as reported yesterday.

Rosanna Flynn of the Residents Against Racism group, a supporter, yesterday insisted that Ms Ijaware was bleeding heavily and was in deep distress.

“I was there in the hospital with her and she was bleeding. I saw it. She told me it was because ‘I’ve lost my baby’. She was in tears and very upset and distressed.”

The Rotunda Hospital has declined to comment on the basis that it does not disclose information relating to individual patients.

In a brief statement, the Department of Justice also said Ms Ijaware was not diagnosed as having had a miscarriage in the hours before her deportation.

Ms Ijaware, who has two children aged four and seven, has been living in Tramore, Co Waterford, for about four years.

While her application for asylum has been rejected, she is considering taking judicial review proceedings against her deportation.

Groups representing asylum seekers yesterday criticised the circumstances of the way she was deported.