Offaly school rallies behind pupil facing deportation

School principal is asking the Minister to 'show compassion' for the young man and his family

Damian Moran

Reporter:

Damian Moran

Email:

damian@offalyexpress.ie

The entire student body showing their support for Nonso

The entire student body showing their support for Nonso

The staff and pupils of an Offaly school have rallied behind one of the school's pupils who is facing deportation to Nigeria despite the fact that he and his family have lived in Ireland for 11 years.

14-year-old Nonso Muojeke along with his mother and older brother are facing deportation back to Nigeria but the community in Tullamore has rallied behind the family with a petition urging Minister Charlie Flanagan to let them stay in Ireland having garnered over 12,500 signatures in the last week alone. You can view and sign the petition by clicking here

Now the entire staff and student body of Tullamore College have come out to show their unwavering support for Nonso. 

Tullamore College Principal Edward McEvoy has described Nonso as 'a model student'. Nonso's brother is also a past pupil of Tullamore College and is now studying in the University of Limerick.  (story continues below the picture)

The staff of Tullamore College showing their support for Nonso

Mr McEvoy stated that the staff, the students and the clergy of Tullamore are all supporting the plea for clemency which would prevent the deportation of the family.

"Minister Charlie Flanagan has the final say and we are pleading with the Minister to show compassion and allow Nonso to stay," Mr McEvoy concluded.

Minister Flanagan is currently a TD for Laois but it is likely that he will once again be running in a combined Laois/Offaly constituency at the next General Election.

The 'Save Nonso from Deportation' petition page outlines the family's history and their difficult journey to the point where they now face deportation from Ireland.

Mr. Muojeke, the boys father, died in 2006. Mrs. Muojeke, as a widow, became the property of her husband’s brother, as is the custom. She was seriously mistreated by that brother and the rest of the family.

Mrs. Muojeke fled to Ireland in 2007 with her two boys, one 2 year old and one 7 year old. Vulnerable and very afraid, they lived in a hostel in the Direct Provision System in Dublin before being moved to Co. Laois.

The family applied for asylum based on the horrific treatment of Mrs. Muojeke and her two children. This was turned down in 2009. Mrs. Muojeke requested the solicitor on the case to file an appeal within the 15 days allowed. He did not do so.

A Deportation Order was then issued and the family moved to Tullamore where Mrs. Muojeke continued to engage by trying to get her file back from the original solicitor. After a very long time she succeeded and, finally, Mr. John Gerard Cullen took up her case and appealed to the Minister of Justice in 2015. The Minister did not reply at first for more than a year. The Minister then refused Humanitarian Leave to remain in 2017. The reasons given included that the older boy will settle well if returned to Nigeria as he settled well, aged 7, when he came to Ireland. Also, it was stated that the severe mental trauma suffered by the children is not a ground for granting Humanitarian Leave to remain. The issue of the best interests of the children was not considered a relevant matter.

The family has never received welfare payments and none of them has ever had a medical card. They have not even received Children’s Allowance. Both boys identify totally with being Irish, neither speaks any Nigerian dialect and has no cultural awareness of that country whatsoever.

Why is this case unique?:

* The boys have been here since they were very young children and have been brought up as active Irish members of their community

* Their mother has always sought to engage with the Authorities

* They are excellent young persons (one is still a fourteen year old child) who are making, and want to make, a positive contribution to this society

* The Irish Constitutional guarantee on the best interests and rights of children is not empty rhetoric; and it must be honoured.

What next?

Minister Charles Flanagan has the power to grant “Leave to Remain” to these boys. Please go to the following: savenonso@outlook.com and add your email address to the petition.

Please email the Minister and the Taoiseach (charles.flanagan@oir.ie and leo.varadkar@oir.ie pledging support to the children’s right to life and education here in their country