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Tullamore student facing deportation

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Tullamore student facing deportation thumbnailNonso Muojeke is facing deportation if court rejects application to appeal.

A 14-year-old Tullamore College student is facing deportation to Nigeria if the courts do not intervene and allow an appeal to take place.

Nonso Muojeke came to Ireland when he was just two years of age and has been living in Tullamore with his mother and older brother for eight years.

Nonso's father died in 2005 and when this happens a widow becomes the property of her husband's brother. As a result Nonso's mother, two year old Nonso and his seven year old brother, Victor fled to Ireland. They lived in direct-provision in Dublin before being moved to County Laois.

According to a petition set up to keep Nonso in Ireland, the family applied for asylum based on the treatment of the Osu tribe in Nigeria. This was turned down in 2009.

The petition states, ''the solicitor working on the case made no further applications. A Deportation Order was issued and the family moved to Tullamore.''

Both boys attended a local primary school before progressing to Tullamore College. Nonso and Victor have ''an excellent academic and attendance record. Victor is now in university studying Product Design. He came top of his class in the university Christmas exams and was awarded a '1916 Scholarship,' in March 2018. Nonso is in second year and following in his brother's footsteps, both academically and as a fine, intelligent, well behaved and hard working young man.

The family has never received welfare payments and none of them has ever had a medical card.

Both boys identify totally with being Irish, neither speaks any Nigerian and have no cultural awareness of that country at all,'' the petition states.

The courts are now considering if they will allow a petition to be made to allow Nonso to stay.

Deputy Barry Cowen, said "the family have been in touch with myself over the last number of months, seeking help and assistance in their efforts to get nationalisation. I made the relative representations to the Department. As of today (Monday May 14) the courts are considering whether to accept an appeal for a deportation order. A decision will be made on or before the 5th of June, the next course of events will be decided by that decision.''

If the decision is upheld and the deportation order comes into effect, Deputy Cowen says he will be seeking the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, in conjunction with the Minister for Children Katherine Zappone, to look at the social aspect of the case considering the length of time it has taken to make a decision during which time the children especially became Irish citizens in all but name.

''They went through the school system very successfully despite all the obstacles and that is a very commendable feature for them and for the school and the community at large. I'm not surprised by the level of support and commitment in the community and for every effort to have their status formalised in a legal sense. If necessary I will seek to raise the issue in the Dail if it is such that the plight of the family will be at the sole discretion of the Minister. Only then can that be done,'' he concluded.

Signatures on the petition include Senators, Lynn Ruane, Alice Mary Higgins, Ruairi McKiernan, Francis Black, along with Niall Breslin (Bressie) , Shane Dooley, along with other locals including Joe Dooley, Principal of Tullamore College, Edward McEvoy and Molly Buckley from the Board of Management at the school.

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