Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Deporting Kunle

Looks like the Olunkunle Eluhanla better known as Kunle is being deported from Ireland, again. Last time he was deported he was portrayed in the media as just a poor school boy trying to do his Leaving Certificate and being bullied by the government. I admit I was pretty annoyed when I heard what the government was doing, the least they could do is let the chap sit his exams which were just a month or two away.

Then I heard that his application for asylum had been rejected, he was in his twenties, and had been caught driving with no tax or insurance. My sympathy waned a little. Still the campaign did managed to get him back into the country on a 6 month extension to sit his exams, last March. So I had assumed things turned out for the best.

Now The Examiner is reporting that Kunle has received a letter telling him he has 15 days to leave the country or be deported again.
It outlined several reasons for the decision, including the fact that his application for asylum had been turned down, and the fact that he had recently pleaded guilty in court to charges of driving without insurance or tax since he returned to Ireland.

Residents against Racism are also saying that there is no justification for deporting someone for road traffic offences. I'd guess normally they might have a point, but I would like some more information and facts:

1) As I see it he must have finished his exams by now. Is he repeating? Going to college? Why is he still called a student in the media?

2) Was he not made aware the first time that he required tax and insurance? Why did he not get tax and insurance this time?

3) Is his 6 month visa expired? March was 10 months ago. Did he get an extension?

4) On what grounds is he seeking asylum? All the focus is on how unfair the Department is being for deporting him, but has he got grounds to stay in the first place?

5) Why should he stay and, for example, a woman who lives in fear of genital mutilation be sent back? The line as to who stays and who goes seems a bit blurry sometimes and far too open to manipulation by media.

6) Did McDowell personally order his deportation? Has he been paying special attention to this case?

I'm sure some people will flame me and accuse me of racism or something equally heinous. I don't really care, I'm not racist, I think there is a balance to be struck, we simply cant let in everyone who wants to come to Ireland for a better life, neither can we sent home people who live in genuine fear. I'm just not convinced that this young man is the innocent figure Residents Against Racism want him to be. If he breaks the law, no matter how minor, does he really send out the right message for the group? Why focus all this attention on him when I am sure there are many other cases that are more urgent. I just want to make sure the law is applied fairly, that he has a genuine reason to stay and that the government is not seeking revenge.

Update: this may partially answer question 2. Turns out the Gardai don't have the power to seize cars of non-nationals.
He [Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy] said a loophole existed in the law if offenders were not Irish residents.
“Because they’re not, we cannot seize their car, even though they may not be taxed or insured. That problem is there,” he said.

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