Louth woman appeals to Minister after partner deported

South African national Mark Morris is the father and primary carer of their five children

Amanda Crowe at home in Dundalk, Co Louth, with her six children Hilda (9), Nadine (8), Mark (5), twins Milan and Paris (3) and Phoenix (7 months). Photograph: Ciara Wilkinson/The Irish Times

Amanda Crowe at home in Dundalk, Co Louth, with her six children Hilda (9), Nadine (8), Mark (5), twins Milan and Paris (3) and Phoenix (7 months). Photograph: Ciara Wilkinson/The Irish Times

 

A Co Louth woman, whose partner and the father of their five children was deported earlier this month, says his removal from the State was illegal and she is appealing to the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan to expedite his return.

Mark Morris, a South African national, was deported on December 7th. He was detained at Dundalk Garda station the day before and had been required to “sign on” there monthly as he had had a deportation order since 2009.

Amanda Crowe, his partner, said Mr Morris had their three youngest children – twins aged three and a seven-month-old – with him when he called her while she was at work.

“He said, ‘Amanda you need to come to the Garda station. They are going to deport me’. I thought he was joking. I went straight down and I said to the gardaí, ‘you can’t do this. He has five Irish children’. But they said they had to enforce the order.”

Mr Morris came to Ireland in 1999 with a permit to work at a meat factory in Co Cavan. He returned to South Africa in 2001 and came back to Ireland in 2007 at the invitation of a brother who was legally resident here.

South Africans do not need a visa to visit Ireland for up to three months. He overstayed this, however, and was served with a deportation order in 2009. In the same year he met Ms Crowe, who is from Scotland.

Zambrano judgment

The deportation order was reviewed in 2010 and by then Ms Crowe was pregnant with their first child. They now have five children, aged seven months to eight years.

The couple were in the process of regularising his status under the terms of the 2011 Zambrano judgment from the European Court of Justice. It says EU states cannot refuse residency or the right to work to a person from a non-EU state if they have EU-citizen children in the same member state. The children have EU citizenship through Ms Crowe and have Irish passports.

Ms Crowe says she was initially told Mr Morris would be held in Cloverhill prison for between five and 56 days before being deported, but was later contacted and told he was being brought to Store Street Garda station in Dublin.

She and the children saw him for half an hour on Friday morning at a supervised visit in Store Street. She engaged a solicitor that day and he secured a High Court injunction halting the deportation on Friday.

However, by the time they contacted the Garda National Immigration Bureau at Dublin airport, his plane had left.

“When we called the airport the guy in immigration just said, ‘the South African? No, he’s gone’.”

Primary carer

Mr Morris, who planned to get work when his residency situation was resolved, has been the primary carer of the children and also of Ms Crowe’s nine-year-old daughter.

“My reading of the Zambrano judgment is that he should have been allowed to stay,” says Ms Crowe. “Why after all these years do they give him no notice, and just weeks before Christmas? The children are really missing him, especially the baby who keeps looking around for him. The three-year-old twins are asking for him.” Mr Morris has no criminal record, she says.

“I want the deportation order revoked. The solicitor said on Thursday it could take three to six months. Now he’s saying it could take longer,” says Ms Crowe, who has no family support in Dundalk.

“The children need him and we need him back home with his family as soon as possible. It’s too hard without him.”

An Garda Síochána said it would not comment on an individual case. The Department of Justice was asked for a comment on Thursday evening but is yet to respond.