Irish High Court uphoalds decision to deport Zimbabwean mother and daughter

05/12/06 The Four Courts. Credit: Chris Maddaloni/Collins
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The High Court has dismissed a Zimbabwean mother and her daughter’s bid to overturn the Minister for Justice’s decision to deport them.

In her judgment, Ms Justice Mary Rose Gearty said the pair’s bid to quash the Minister’s decision was being refused because it was brought outside the 28-day legal time allowed to bring such applications.

The mother and daughter, who is a minor, cannot be named for legal reasons.

They had sought international protection in Ireland after leaving Zimbabwe over claims that her fiancée and sons had vanished after attending a political rally in their country, shortly after they had defected from a rival political party.

The mother also claimed that if returned home she faced prosecution on the grounds of gender.

After considering their claims, both the International Protection Office (IPO) and the International Protection Appeal Tribunal (IPAT) rejected their applications on the grounds the claims lacked credibility and were inconsistent.

Arsing out of those findings, the Minister for Justice issued deportation orders against the applicants.

That decision was challenged on the grounds that the Minister failed to properly consider information the applicants submitted to the respondent about Zimbabwe that supported their bid to be allowed to remain in the State.

The Minister opposed their action and rejected their claim that the decision was flawed.

In her judgment, Ms Justice Gearty said the deportation orders were issued in May 2023, but the applicants did not bring their High Court challenge until the following August.

This was outside the time limit allowed, and to allow a challenge to be brought outside the 28 days would not be conducive to a fair and effective system of deportation, the judge held.

The judge said that the applicants had not offered a reason for part of that delay, and the court was not prepared to grant them an extension of the 28-day time limit.

Ms Justice Gearty said the orders were good on their face, and she was satisfied that the Minister had taken all relevant considerations into account before arriving at the decision to issue the deportation orders.

The judge said it was clear why the applicants were being deported. Nothing had been submitted that would allow the court to depart from the Minister’s decisions.

Information submitted by the applicants which included material about political events in their home country to Minister, the judge noted, did not contain updated information on gender-based violence in Zimbabwe.

The Minister was entitled to conclude that material was not relevant to the applicants’ circumstances, the court also found.

The court said that it was refusing the application to set aside the deportation orders and awarded costs in favour of the Minister.