An Irish family facing deportation from Australia because their young son has cystic fibrosis has vowed to keep fighting their case for permanent residency.

Earlier this month a review of Christine and Tony Hyde’s application was referred to Immigration Minister David Coleman in a move that has given them hope.

Tony and Christine, from Balbriggan, had their original application rejected by the Department of Home Affairs on the grounds that three-year-old Darragh’s condition would burden taxpayers with a “significant cost”.

After the decision teacher Christine said: “The visa was refused as expected. However, the member has made a decision to recommend our case to be referred to the minister.

“This means the case goes back to the department of immigration and they will decide if the minister should look at our case to intervene. We still have a battle to get the minister’s attention.”

The recommendation by the Administrative Review Tribunal in Australia must first be signed off by the Immigration Department before being referred back to the minister.

Christine admitted: “At the moment, we still have no guarantee the minister is going to intervene, but we do have the recommendation. It’s still up in the air, but at least we have got through this hurdle. It helps us along.”

An online petition in support of the Hyde family has so far gathered almost 74,000 signatures with the case widely reported in the Australian media.

Christine and Tony packed up their lives in Ireland and moved to Australia in 2009, settling in the regional town of Seymour, 100km north of Melbourne.

The couple applied for permanent residency weeks before Darragh was born in 2015. Because of his condition he requires ongoing medical treatment and physiotherapy.

An upbeat Christine said: “They have refused our visa based on the medical officer’s opinion which is what we knew would happen. If we do sit in front of the minister, I do believe we’ll be fine.

“The trouble now is getting there. Every day, we’re getting positive messages. It gives up the strength to keep going.”

A petition to aid the family has been set up, and can be found here.