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05.06.2003 General News

Irish Police forced to bring back deportee

By Irish Times
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Renewed efforts are being made to deport an African man who gardaí (Irish Police ) were forced to bring back to Ireland after a failed attempt to hand him over to the authorities in Ghana.

Immigration gardaí recently escorted the man to the west African country, but after confusion about his true nationality he was refused entry and the party returned to Ireland.

The man, an unsuccessful asylum-seeker, was held in Mountjoy Prison in Dublin upon his return, but has since been released.

The head of the Garda National Immigration Bureau, Chief Supt Martin Donnellan, said there had been confusion about the man's true nationality after he sought asylum as a Nigerian.

After a deportation order was issued in August 2002, the man travelled to the UK but was returned to Ireland and arrested on foot of the order.

He was interviewed by an official from the Nigerian embassy in Dublin, but the embassy was not convinced that he was from Nigeria, according to Chief Supt Donnellan.

Based on "indications that he was really from Ghana", the Ghanaian embassy in London issued travel documents to allow him to be deported, which verified that he was a Ghanaian national.

However, Chief Supt Donnellan said that when two Garda escorts presented the man to the authorities in the Ghanaian capital of Accra recently, he claimed instead to be from Liberia.

"He was protesting he was Liberian and this was at three in the morning and our people asked if they could contact officials in London the following morning who had provided him with transport documentation, but they [the Ghanaian authorities] weren't prepared to do that," he said.

Gardaí were forced to return to Dublin with the man on the next available flight and Chief Supt Donnellan said the round trip cost about €6,000. He said the man is now living in Ireland, with orders to report to gardaí at intervals. He told "blatant lies" all through this process and assumed three identities, according to Chief Supt Donnellan.

"We are going to continue our inquiries in relation to him and see if we can establish his true identity," he added.

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