Aisling Brady McCarthy arrested by US immigration

Irish nanny held for 2002 visa violation but return to Ireland is expected in near future

Irish nanny Aisling Brady McCarthy was arrested by US immigration agents in Boston on Tuesday after being formally released from state custody by law enforcement agents in Massachusetts.

Ms McCarthy (37), was detained by US Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) officers in Boston for a long-standing violation of a tourist visa from Ireland issued in 2002 after overstaying the period of the visa, a spokesman for the agency told The Irish Times.

The Co Cavan woman had been living and working illegally in the US and been the subject of a final order of removal paving the way for her deportation from the country if she was released from custody.

Charge dropped

Her detention comes a day after prosecutors dropped a murder charge relating to the death of child Rehma Sabir in her care in January 2013, following the decision of the state medical examiner to change the manner of the child’s death from homicide to “undetermined”.


"As a significant visa violator, she is an ICE enforcement priority," said Shawn Neudauer, the agency's spokesman in Boston.

"She was issued a final order of removal from the United States in 2013 and will remain in ICE custody pending deportation from the US."

Ms McCarthy was detained at about noon on Tuesday (5pm Irish time) after her lawyers arranged for her to be arrested at ICE’s Boston field office in Burlington, Massachusetts. She is being processed at the immigration facility.

ICE will try to allow Ms McCarthy to return to Ireland on Tuesday evening using an airline ticket she has purchased if she is granted country clearance and has the relevant documents to allow her to travel.

Mr Neudauer said: “ICE is trying to expedite her deportation at her request but there are some procedural matters that must be dealt with first.”

Her lawyers have told immigration officials she bought a plane ticket to return to Ireland on Tuesday evening and intended to leave the United States on that flight.

Voluntary return

Immigration officials are believed to have agreed to permit Ms McCarthy to return to Ireland voluntarily and that the US federal government agency had no interest in holding her in custody.

They removed the GPS electronic monitoring bracelet she was forced to wear after she was released from state custody in May on bail pending her trial.

There are two scheduled flights leaving Boston's Logan Airport on Tuesday, one at 6pm that gets into Dublin on Wednesday morning at 5.05am and a 9pm flight that is due to land in Dublin at 8.05am.

Ms McCarthy was held in custody at a state woman’s prison in Framingham near Boston for 27 months on the murder charge, and she spent a further three months under house arrest after being released on bail.

Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan abandoned the murder charges against the Co Cavan woman on Monday after the Massachusetts medical examiner revised the manner and cause of death due to uncertainty around the child's underlying health.

The examiner originally said the 12-month-old died as a result of blunt force head injuries and ruled the manner of death as homicide.

Prosecutors blamed the death on Ms McCarthy as she was looking after the child on January 14th, 2013 when the injuries were said to have occurred. The child died in hospital a few days later.

She and her legal team had consistently maintained her innocence, saying the child had suffered ill-health through much of her life.

The medical examiner said last week that the child’s health and past medical issues raise the possibility that bleeding could have occurred due to “an accidental injury or an undefined natural disease”.

Gerard Leone jnr, the district attorney who charged Ms McCarthy, was one of the prosecutors in the high-profile case against British nanny Louise Woodward, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of an eight-month-old child in Massachusetts in 1997.

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is News Editor of The Irish Times