Ex-INLA prisoner Malachy McAllister is deported from US to Ireland

Jailed for two attacks on RUC officers, he fled Northern Ireland for America in the 1980s

Malachy McAllister had fought for decades to avoid being deported from the United States where he has lived for more than two decades.

Malachy McAllister had fought for decades to avoid being deported from the United States where he has lived for more than two decades.

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Former INLA prisoner Malachy McAllister arrived in Dublin on Wednesday, as his attempt to prevent deportation from the United States failed.

Mr McAllister, who has lived in the United States for more than two decades, has fought for years to avoid being repatriated to Ireland after he fled Northern Ireland for America in the 1980s.

He served three and a half years of a combined seven-year jail sentence for two INLA attacks on Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers during the 1981 hunger strikes.

He was released in 1985 and took no further part in paramilitary activity. He fled his home in Belfast in 1988 after a loyalist gun attack on his home and ran a construction business in New Jersey for years.

Mr McAllister was formally detained by the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday after he surrendered himself and was transported to an Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) detention facility in New Jersey. He travelled to Dublin on a flight from Newark Airport on Wednesday. Dozens of people had earlier turned out in Newark, New Jersey to support him.

The Irish embassy in Washington and consulate in New York have been providing consular assistance.

Reacting to Mr McAllister’s deportation, senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said that it was “profoundly unjust” and was part of “President Trump’s reflexively hardline and cruel immigration policy towards would be immigrants and asylum seekers”.

“President Trump’s deportation of Malachy McAllister is profoundly unjust and serves no rational public purpose or positive benefit. Mr McAllister has been a valued member of the Irish American community ever since seeking asylum in the United States following an assassination attempt on him and his family during the Troubles,” he said.

The archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan was among those who made representations on behalf of Mr McAllister

New Jersey senator Bob Menendez condemned the move to deport the New Jersey resident, noting that Mr McAllister and his family have resided lawfully in New Jersey for over twenty years.

“Today is a sad day for the McAllister family and New Jersey’s Irish community. Deporting a community leader who poses no national security or public safety threat is not only a clear injustice, but also contrary to our nation’s values,” he said.

“By forcefully deporting Mr McAllister to a place he fled because his life was put in danger, the Trump Administration is showing the immorality of their indiscriminate immigration policies.”

Irish-American group Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) also lobbied against Mr McAllister’s deportation.

James MacKay, the head of the group, said it was with great sadness that the AOH learned of his imminent deportation.

“We have not just been forced to say goodbye to a member and a brother; his American-born US citizen grandchildren have been deprived of their grandfather, the Northern Ireland peace process has lost a voice in America, the US economy has lost an entrepreneur who created two successful tax-paying/job-producing businesses. “

Mr McAllister (62), who has an Irish passport, was recently involved in an accident when he was hit by a car while cycling and was expected to have needed medical assistance to be transported by plane.

His deportation comes six months after he was granted a last-minute stay. Among the judges that have heard his case over the years, is President Donald Trump’s sister, Maryanne Trump Barry. In 2006, she criticised the federal government’s immigration policy as it related to Mr McAllister’s case.

“We cannot be the country we should be if, because of the tragic events of Sept. 11, we knee-jerk remove decent men and women merely because they may have erred at one point in their lives,” she said at the time.

Immigration laws around the residency rights of undocumented and illegal immigrants have tightened under the Trump administration. In particular, while the ICE agency previously tended to grant stays of removal when members of Congress intervened, that policy was changed by the Department of Homeland Security in 2017.