Public’s backing ‘down under’ comes out tops for Darragh

by Sylvia Pownall
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A Dublin couple facing deportation from Australia because their son has cystic fibrosis have thanked the public Down Under for backing their fight to stay.

Balbriggan woman Christine Hyde and her husband Anthony were granted residency late last Friday after Immigration Minister David Coleman intervened in their case.

Their application for permanent residency had initially been turned down because the Australian government deemed three-year-old Darragh’s illness to be a burden on taxpayers.

But the U-turn came about last week after 120,000 people signed a petition backing them – including local MP Damian Drum and the Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, who said: “They’re effectively Aussies.”

Hours after hearing the good news, teacher Christine choked back tears and said: “I couldn’t believe it. I had to ring again just to double check.

“It’s nice to be able to go back to school and tell the kids. We’ve had our fair go but it would be great for them to look at the system that people have to go through.”

Bus driver Anthony thanked the public for their support and noted that it wasn’t just residents in Seymour where the couple live who’d backed them in their time of need.

The couple have lived in Australia for almost 10 years and appealed their case to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal when their application, first lodged in 2015 before Darragh was born, was turned down.

They had argued that Darragh was born in Australia and that he has a mild form of the condition and is unlikely to require a lung transplant – which was supported by doctors’ letters.

Christine said they now plan to buy a house and put down permanent roots. She said: “Thank you to everyone who has been behind us these past few months.

“It has been challenging. We are delighted to share that we were granted residency yesterday. We are completely overjoyed, excited and ready to live our lives.

“It’s been nearly four years since we lodged our original application. We cannot believe it, we are so grateful. Looking forward to the next chapter in our lives.”

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