AN IRISH family living in Victoria, Australia are facing deportation back to Ireland because their son has cystic fibrosis.
Anthony and Christine Hyde first moved from Dublin to Australia back in 2009, settling in the small town of Seymour where they have remained ever since.
After studying for a Masters in Special Education, Christine found full-time work as a teacher, eventually rising to the role of Acting Assistant Principal at her school.
Anthony, meanwhile, works part-time as a bus driver. On August 3rd, 2015 they applied to become permanent residents of Australia, confident that Christine’s status as a fully-qualified teacher would stand them in good stead.
It was a happy time for the couple with Christine already heavily pregnant with their first child at the time. A couple of weeks later, on August 18th, their son Darragh was born.
Soon after, however, Darragh was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis and the family’s doctor was required to send a letter to the Australian Department of Home Affairs informing them of his condition.
As a result, their application for permanent residency refused by the Australian Department of Home Affairs because they assessed him as having a condition which makes him a burden on the Australian community.
The couple have now launched an online petition to try and get the decision overturned.
“Our son Darragh was born in Australia on 18 August 2015. Australia is the only home our son know,” Christine says on the Change.org petition.
“Despite the option to appeal the decision to the Administrative Review Tribunal, the Tribunal does not have the power to overturn the health assessment and as such unless the Hon David Coleman MP, Hon Peter Dutton MP or Senator Linda Reynolds can help us, we will be forced to leave our friends, family, and the life we have built for ourselves in Australia.”
“Darragh has been doing extremely well considering his condition, and we have positive letters from his doctors and specialist stating that he should live a full life and that his disease progression will be much slower than average,” she added.
“His condition has no effect on his cognitive ability, and should he wish to finish school and go to University, he has every chance at being successful in a career path of his choosing. Darragh is a bright boy with a positive future ahead of him.”
The petition has already gathered more than 11,000 signatures with an initial target of 15,000 set. The couple are hoping the campaign will help convince one of the four MPs capable of overturning the decision to in support their case to remain in the country.
“We have always felt extremely grateful to live in Australia,” Christine said.
“We have been living in Australia for almost 10 years and have a strong support network here with our friends and family and we are well settled in regional Victoria.”
You can show your support for Christine, Anthony and Darragh by adding your name to the petition here.