Belfast Telegraph

Immigration cases to be probed

At least 120 families facing deportation from Ireland may be allowed to stay on after an official investigation was ordered into their cases.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter has also demanded a review into pending and past deportations of immigrant parents of Irish-born children.

The move was sparked by a landmark European Court of Justice ruling giving youngsters born in the EU the right to stay in a member country with their non-national parents.

Mr Shatter has told his officials to carry out an urgent examination of all affected cases before the Irish courts - as well as future and previous proceedings - in the wake of the so-called Zambrano judgment.

"This initiative is being taken in the best interests of the welfare of eligible minor Irish citizen children and to ensure that the taxpayer is not exposed to any unnecessary additional legal costs," he said.

Mr Shatter said the Government agreed to take a "proactive" approach after the court ruling so eligible families do not have to wait longer than necessary to find out their fate.

The Department of Justice said there were around 120 deportation cases before the courts involving the immigrant parents of Irish-born children.

Officials are working on how many past and pending cases are also impacted.

Mr Shatter said the review would affect only the parents of a child who is an Irish citizen.

Since the Citizenship Referendum in 2005, a child of immigrant parents can secure citizenship only if at least one parent was lawfully resident in Ireland for three out of the previous four years. The rule does not apply to asylum seekers or students.

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