Lobes were genuine and popular, say village locals

 

Locals in the Lobe family's adopted Co Cork village of Ballineen praised the Czech family of six yesterday as genuine and popular.

The Lobe's landlord, Mr Trevor Draper, said they were the best tenants he had had and he had hoped they would stay for another 10 years.

"The family were 100 per cent genuine. Every morning you could hear the hoover going. Even when they heard the terrible news that they were to be deported, they were out later cleaning the windows," he said.

Mr Draper acted as a guarantor for the Lobes when they wanted to buy a new camcorder last Christmas. A local solicitor, Mr Gerard Corcoran, had coached Jack, the eldest boy of the family, as part of the under-12 local Gaelic football team which won the county championship.

Mr Corcoran said he was so impressed with Jack's ability and team spirit that he had pleaded with the GAA to exert any influence it might have to allow the family stay in the country.

He said: "He was a great footballer. It was his brilliant save as a goalie in the last three minutes of the match which won us the championship. He settled in so well. He was a very popular lad. Jack was one of the team, and he was every bit a Ballineen lad as any of the others."

Ms Lynn Buckle, a local woman who was acquainted with the family, said: "The family were very well accepted into the community. They were welcomed with open arms."

The two eldest Lobe children, Jack and his sister, Jana, attended the local St Mary's national school. A spokesperson at the school said that both children were "extremely popular".

There were indications last night that the Lobe family may have travelled to Northern Ireland. Locals said they believed that their former house was under surveillance by gardaí.

Meanwhile, gardaí are making arrangements to deport a Nigerian man who, along with the Lobes, lost an extended legal battle against deportation yesterday.

Mr Andrew Osayande is being held in Clover Hill Prison in Dublin and is scheduled to be deported next Tuesday to the UK, where he had already unsuccessfully sought asylum before coming to Ireland. It is likely that he will eventually be deported from there to his native Nigeria. Mr Osayande's wife and two children, including his 17-month-old Irish citizen son, Osaze Joshua, have not been served with deportation orders.

Both families had made unsuccessful asylum applications and last January lost a joint Supreme Court appeal against deportation in which they claimed they were entitled to reside in the State as the parents of Irish citizen children who have constitutional rights.

The solicitor for both families, Ms Noeline Blackwell, said while her clients had yesterday failed in their bid to secure a temporary halt to their deportations at the European Court of Human Rights, the main application to the Strasbourg court could proceed. If she remained unable to contact the Lobe family, this application could not be pursued.