Loyalist gun attack forced Malachy from Ireland back in 1988

Ormeau man faces deportation

By Paul Ainsworth

AN Ormeau Road man who fled to America after a loyalist gun attack on his home, has been told he has one year left in the United States before being deported back to Ireland. Malachy McAllister fled South Belfast with his young family following the loyalist attack on his Farnham Street home in 1988, during which his two infant children and mother-in-law narrowly escaped death.

The former republican prisoner, who was on holiday with his wife at the time of the shooting, returned briefly to collect his children before fleeing to the USA via Canada, where they set up a new life away from the Troubles.

Since arriving in America and claiming asylum, the family have been battling deportation as “illegal immigrants” and have lobbied prominent figures on Capitol Hill to help keep them in their new home in New Jersey.

Malachy and wife Bernie, who sadly passed away in 2004, had another child born in the States, which delayed any immediate deportation, while Malachy recently became a father again with a new partner.

Yet Malachy fears the family could be torn apart, as his two adult children, who were infants when they fled, could also be forced to return to Ireland.

New hope for the family has recently appeared in the form of an Obama-led initiative which could end the deportation of those who came to the States as infants, but Malachy’s future remains uncertain.

Mark Sykes of Relatives for Justice, who have been highlighting the family’s case, said their recent detailed report into the murders of locals in the Ormeau Road Sean Graham’s Bookies was being used to show the dangers faced by those targeted in the area by loyalist death squads.

“As recently as 2005 the Red Hand Defenders were saying they would get him ‘next time’, so he does not feel safe returning to Belfast,” he said.

“During the RFJ visit to the US for the 20th anniversary of the Sean Graham’s massacre we presented Malachy with a copy of our report on the killings, which he is using to present his case. So many people lost their lives to loyalists within a small radius of his Ormeau home. The possibility remains that his life could still be in danger here, while if he was deported it would mean splitting up his family. When I saw him during our visit he was told he had a year left.

“He served his time here and put his old life behind him a long time ago. He wants to stay in America with his family, and we will continue to lobby for that to happen. “Thankfully he has the support of figures such as Hilary Clinton, and Irish American representatives to keep the pressure on those with the power to deport him.

 

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