Tens of thousands of people have signed a petition to protest the deportation order of the Irish born nine-year-old, Eric Zhi Ying Xue.
Leena Mei Mei Xue, his mother, emigrated from China to Ireland 12 years ago. In 2015, a deportation order was served against her with her final appeal last June being rejected. A letter has now been sent requesting a pause for the deportation, pending a full review.
Although born in Ireland, Eric Zhi Ying Xue can be deported under the 27th Amendment, which passed by 79 per cent in a 2004 referendum. The amendment states that children born to foreign nationals would no longer have a constitutional right to Irish citizenship.
St. Cronan’s School in Bray, Wicklow, where Xue is a pupil, started the petition on the website Change.org, appealing to Minister for Justic Charlie Flanagan. The petition averaged at 10,000 signatures per day.
“The call of the petition has done so much,” principal of the school Maeve Tierney told The College View. “We were initially very hesitant to speak out due to the risks attached, but the petition has put real pressure on the system”.
Speaking on the situation, Tierney is optimistic about Xue’s future. “I believe Minister Charlie Flanagan is a compassionate man and will do the right thing”.
Minister for Health and TD for the Wicklow constituency Simon Harris has spoken out against the deportation of the nine-year-old boy.
He previously stated: “Eric is Irish. He was born here, goes to school here and has never lived anywhere else. This is his home. This is his country. I really hope common sense can prevail.”
When contacted, Minister Harris declined to add to his previous comments.
George Hook, former presenter of Newstalk has come under fire over his controversial comments on the matter. After Harris’ statement, Hook tweeted: “With trolley numbers at world record levels, Minister @SimonHarrisTD is worried about a Chinese boy!!”
Harris retorted on Twitter, saying he “will never apologise for standing up for a young boy in my constituency”. “That’s my job. Honoured to do it.”
“Speaking up and speaking out is what my employers – the people of Wicklow expect me to do,” he continued.
Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has refused to comment on any individual issue but has stated that he would like to “ensure justice and fairness”, as reported by The Times.
Image Credit: RTÉ