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Chilean woman detained in Dochas Centre for over a week after arriving in Ireland released

On her arrival at Dublin Airport on 2 July last she was detained by immigration officials.

Image: Graham Hughes via RollingNews.ie

A 33-YEAR-OLD Chilean woman kept in solitary confinement for more than a week in the female section of Mountjoy Prison after immigration officials refused to allow her into the country has been released.

The State did not contest an inquiry into the legality of the detention of Estefany Carolina Alquinta Gonzalez who came to Ireland earlier this month to commence a six month course with a Dublin-based Language School to study English.

However on her arrival at Dublin Airport on 2 July last she was detained by immigration officials and was denied entry to the state on the grounds that she represents a real and immediate threat to the fundamental policy interests of the State.  

She denied that she posed any risk. However she was committed to the Dochas Centre for woman, and was kept isolated from other prisoners due to Covid-19 regulations. She has tested negative for the virus.

Chilean citizens do not require a visa to visit Ireland. 

Today, Justice Charles Meenan, who yesterday ordered an inquiry into Gonzalez’s detention under Article 40 of the Constitution, was told by Rosario Boyle SC for the student that the state was not contesting the matter.

Arising out of that the judge ordered that she be released from custody.

He also awarded Gonzalez her legal costs.

The court also heard that the Minister for Justice intends to review a decision, which was the subject of a second set of proceedings, not to grant Gonzalez permission to remain in the State.

Gonzalez represented by Boyle, appearing with Aoife McMahon Bl instructed by solicitor Wendy Lyon, had argued that prior to coming to Ireland Gonzalez had been in contact with the Department of Foreign Affairs. 

Before arriving in Ireland Gonzalez said an official in that department said she would be allowed enter Ireland in order to complete her course, even though her courses were to be delivered online, as long as her travel documents were in order.

Gonzalez had travelled around Europe in recent years and has always complied with the terms of visas issued to her said she produced all her paperwork to officials when she arrived in Dublin. 

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She had been staying in Denmark, and while her visa to stay there was due to expire in early July, but was prevented from leaving that country due to the Covid-19 pandemic.   

Arrival in Ireland

On arriving in Dublin she provided immigration officials with her documentations, proof of funds and a copy of her communications with the DFA, and said that she had booked accommodation where she planned to self isolate for two weeks. 

However Gonzalez was denied entry to the state and claimed she was told by the officials to return to Denmark, as no student visa were being given out as the schools were shut.

The student also claimed that she was informed that she could not enter as a tourist as she wanted to come into Ireland as a student. 

She further claimed she told officials that while courses were being given online she wanted to remain in Ireland until classes opened, but immigration officials denied her permission to enter the state, arrested and detained her.

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Aodhan O Faolain

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