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harvey sherratt

Mother of boy with severe scoliosis hits out at use of his story by anti-immigrant figures

A post was published on X in recent days comparing Harvey Sherratt’s story with Josef Puska being granted legal aid.

THE MOTHER OF a young boy waiting years for scoliosis surgery has hit out at people on social media for using his story to criticise the State’s approach to immigration. 

Speaking to The Journal today, eight-year-old Harvey Sherratt’s mother Gillian Sherratt said that the use of her son’s story on social media by people discussing immigration are “just further inciting anger towards immigrants”. 

In February, Harvey’s father Stephen Morrison said his son has been waiting years for surgery and that unless he receives an surgical intervention “he will die”. 

Harvey has an 83 degree curve in his spine and was initially diagnosed when he was aged one. Morrison said the curve on his son’s spine was threatening his life as it had resulted in his ribcage “crushing one of his lungs’ and “pushing on his heart”.  

In recent days, a tweet was posted on X containing a screengrab of news article about Harvey’s story, alongside a screengrab of an article about legal aid being granted in Jozef Puska’s appeal over his conviction for the murder of Ashling Murphy. 

Ms Murphy, a 23-year-old primary school teacher, was stabbed 11 times in the neck by Puska as she went for an afternoon run in Tullamore, Co Offaly, on 12 January 2022.

The post on X claimed: “As a foreigner you can murder people and the Irish state will still fund your legal bills. As an Irish person if need surgery to save your life you will be ignored.”

Hitting back at the post, Harvey’s mother Gillian issued a statement on X, saying she has “seen a large number of posts featuring Harvey and Harvey’s story being used in this horrific and racist light”. 

“As Harvey’s parents we do not agree with this and we are truly saddened to be in any way affiliated with the massive increase in hate speech towards immigrant and refugees in Ireland,” Gillian Sherratt said. 

“Harvey is awaiting surgical intervention yes, but that is in no way relevant or connected to the murder of Aisling Murphy and the two topics cannot be compared in any way,” she said. 

She said the murder of Ashling Murphy was a “horrific crime”, but added that it “should not be used against immigrants”. 

Sherratt highlighted that the hospital which Harvey attends has nurses and doctors of numerous nationalities, adding: “Without immigrants our hospitals would be in an even worse staffing position.

“Some of our favourite staff over the years have been non-Irish, so to think of them being subjected to racism now after the work they have done and continue to do for our children is just heartbreaking. Racism is never ok.”

Speaking to The Journal today, Sherratt said that trying to compare Harvey’s story with Jozef’s appeal story is “just further inciting anger towards immigrants”. 

She said seeing the image of a murderer being posted beside the image of her son was “shocking” and “wholly inexcusable”. 

“As Irish, we have a massive history of migration in search of better lives during times of struggle and it’s very hypocritical to now blame others for doing the same,” she said. 

“I feel that people are misdirecting their anger and these are issues that the Government need to address, it is not the fault of those who have chosen to come here and the increase in racism over the last 12 months is just appalling,” Sherratt said. 

With reporting by David Raleigh

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