Family of six-year-old autistic boy facing deportation to Nigeria make final legal bid in Ireland|
DUBLIN, Ireland: The legal team representing a six-year-old autistic boy who faces deportation to Nigeria on June 15, with his mother and twin sister, are to make a final bid in Ireland's Hugh Court to stop the deportation.
On June 14, the outgoing Irish Justice Minister, Michael McDowell, refused to reconsider his position in the case of Great Agbonlahor, who has autism, his twin sister Melissa and their mother, Olivia, who face deportation at 2pm on June 15.
The family's solicitor, Kevin Brophy, sent two letters to McDowell on the morning of June 14, the first asking him to reconsider his position and the second asking him to consider the family under the subsidiary protection scheme. This scheme obliges governments to consider situations where individuals are in the process of being returned to countries where they are likely to be subjected to torture or inhuman and degrading treatment.
Olivia Agbonlahor claims that, if her son is deported to Nigeria, a country where he has never set foot, he will receive no treatment for his condition, and be regarded as being possessed by evil spirits. Protesters, including Senator David Norris, showed their support for the family outside the Dail yesterday.
Brophy said: "We received a reply from the Minister before lunch saying that he would not reconsider Great's case and, what is worse, they are going ahead with the deportation today." Mr Brophy said the Minister would not even allow him to make the subsidiary protection application, as he said he would not listen to it.
Brophy said he was left with no choice but to go into the High Court to look for an injunction to make the Minister at least consider their application on the grounds of natural justice.
A spokeswoman for Residents against Racism, Rosanna Flynn, said she hoped a stay would be put on Great's deportation order until a new and possibly more sympathetic minister was appointed.
"This is nothing if not a humanitarian issue. The treatment of anyone with a mental illness in Nigeria is dreadful. Many children are put into psychiatric hospitals where they die mysteriously within a couple of years," she said.
(Source: Irish Independent, June 15, 2007)