Doctor in plea to Minister on deportation threat to couple


A Galway doctor has warned that the impending deportation of an Albanian man could have a negative impact on his wife, who is seriously ill and due to undergo surgery.

An Irish Kosovan solidarity group has also appealed to Minister for Justice Michael McDowell to allow the couple to stay on humanitarian grounds.

Hyso and Ermira Dule live in an accommodation centre at Cloonabinna House, Moycullen, Co Galway. Both are in their late 50s, have been in Ireland for more than two years and suffered discrimination in Albania because of their mixed marriage.

Ms Dule, who is a member of the Roma community, was severely beaten in police custody in Albania in March 2003.

She has been diagnosed as having ischaemic heart disease and arthritis, which requires medication and constant monitoring. She is due to have surgery in Galway next month, but her husband, on whom she is dependent, is facing deportation on January 11th.

Dr Noel Rice, a general practitioner in Moycullen, said in a written statement that Ermira would be very isolated if left alone and would suffer greatly, should she leave Ireland and return to Albania.

He added that Ms Dule believed she would not be able to continue her medication if she returned home, which could have serious consequences. He asked that both be allowed to remain in Ireland for the foreseeable future.

Peter Mullineax, facilitator of an intercultural project in Co Galway funded by the Department of Justice, said Ms Dule had been a mainstay of his initiative.

The project links asylum-seekers to communities through work with transition-year secondary school students.

"It is a really wonderful project, which the Department of Justice is supporting, and Ermira has been visiting a local school in Oughterard once a week for the last three months," Mr Mullineax said.

Valerie Hughes of Kosovo Ireland Solidarity said she had written to the Minister last February requesting leave for the couple to remain on humanitarian grounds. Ms Hughes said it was "unthinkable" that Ermira Dule should be left on her own, given the couple's dependence on each other and their "terror" of being separated.

The couple could not afford a judicial review of the deportation order, given that it could cost up to €5,000, she said.

Under section 3 (6) of the Immigration Act, humanitarian considerations are among the conditions which the Minister must consider before issuing a deportation order.

However, such leave to remain is the exception rather than the rule and non-governmental organisations have expressed concern that the new Immigration and Residency Bill appears to wish to dispense with humanitarian reasons altogether.

The European Council on Refugees and Exiles has said that humanitarian grounds for not deporting a person should also include a long period of residence in a country.

However, another asylum-seeker from the west Balkans who is known to Kosovo Ireland Solidarity, is also facing deportation on January 11th, even though he has been in Ireland for six years, has a Polish partner and has few contacts left at home.