Detention of Brazilian woman ‘unusual’ and ‘draconian’

Paloma Aparezida Silva-Carvalho detained at Dublin Airport after arriving for holiday

Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy has described as “hugely inappropriate” the detention of a Brazilian woman in jail shortly after she arrived in Dublin to go on holiday.

Paloma Aparezida Silva-Carvalho (24) previously worked as an au pair for the Muller-Wieland family in Co Galway and was planning to go to visit them in Moycullen.

She was detained by Garda immigration officers on Tuesday evening despite having proof of a return flight in September. She was brought to the Dóchas women’s prison at Mountjoy adn was released shortly before 10pm on Wednesday night.

Ms Silva-Carvalho had arrived in Dublin from Basle, Switzerland, where she had been visiting her fiancé.


“It appears to have been a very unusual approach by the Garda immigration officers in relation to the visit of Ms Silva-Carvalho,” Ms Murphy said.

“The fact that she clearly had a pre-booked flight home should have warranted a less intrusive scrutiny of her intentions and does display the bona fides of her holiday here, and her detention in Dochas women’s prison seems hugely inappropriate in this circumstance.”

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.

When asked about the matter, the Department of Justice said it did not comment on individual cases.

Close relationships

Ms Murphy said the young woman had built close personal relationships through her previous work in Ireland, “and was just doing what many long haul tourists do when they reach Europe, take in as much as possible and use the visit to explore a very navigable part of the world whilst also visiting close friends living here”.

Labour Party equality spokeswoman Cllr Deirdre Kingston described the action against Ms Silva-Carvalho as “draconian”.

“I am concerned at the details of this case, the type of economic profiling being used by immigration at Dublin airport and quite simply how this woman was treated by authorities when coming to visit friends in this country,” she said.

“We need to know what type of profiling is being used, and whether Ireland is needlessly causing distress to visitors to our island. We also need answers as to why such draconian action was taken.”

Ms Kingston said it was good Ms Silva-Carvalho had friends in Ireland to advocate for her, “but questions remain as to why she was arrested and brought to prison, and then finally given 10 days to remain in Ireland, reversing a previous decision that would have seen her deported to Basle today”.

Mary Minihan

Mary Minihan

Mary Minihan is Features Editor of The Irish Times