Senseless decision to banish Angel's mum must be reversed now
"The law is an ass." This phrase was first coined by Charles Dickens in Oliver Twist over 150 years ago, but it has rarely seemed as appropriate as it does today.
The State's attempt to deport Sylvia Noguiera, mother and carer of Herald Angel Aline Barros, is an absolute disgrace -- and even at this late stage, we should do everything we can to make sure that this cruel and senseless decision is reversed.
Aline Barros first came to this country around two years ago to improve her English.
During her time here, the beautiful young Brazilian woman has been a model citizen. She worked hard, paid her taxes and lived by the rules.
In July 2008, the week before she was due to return home, Aline was the victim of a terrible hit-and-run incident in Dublin city centre.
She was knocked off her bicycle by a truck and left paralysed from the waist down.
Her situation was subsequently made even harder by a bathing incident with her carer, when she was put into a hot bath and suffered serious burns to her feet.
The arrival of Aline's mother has made a massive difference to her daily life.
Sylvia has been able to look after her daughter's medical care, find different treatments for the pain and help her to come to terms with her new circumstances.
They live on donations from the Brazilian community as well as fundraising from generous Dubliners who have been understandably moved by Aline's plight.
So why has Sylvia been ordered to leave the country by this Thursday? Is it because she has committed some terrible crime or lied to the State about her background?
No -- the only reason is that her 90-day visitor's visa has expired and, for some reason best known to themselves, the immigration authorities lack the imagination or humanity to see the human suffering that would be created by her deportation.
Since Sylvia obviously cannot work and has little or no social life, the presence of her mother makes all the difference in the world to her.
She is determined to walk again with the aid of physiotherapy, but she desperately needs to keep up her mental as well as her physical strength.
At the very least, she has pleaded with the Government to allow Sylvia to remain until after the court case relating to her accident has taken place on June 22 -- a basic request that nobody with an ounce of compassion in their heart should be able to deny.
Even with just three days left, the situation is not hopeless. Experience shows that although they occasionally make stupid and inhumane decisions, Government ministers are also capable of responding to public pressure.
There are several cases on record of immigrants who were due to be deported but received a last-minute reprieve when a publicity campaign forced the authorities to take a second look.
Ever since Aline's accident, the people of Dublin -- and Herald readers in particular -- have shown the sort of generosity and decency that we have traditionally been famous for.
A large amount of money has been raised -- but unfortunately in this case, money is not enough.
What she really needs now is for people to lobby the Department of Justice and highlight her dilemma across the media, creating the kind of storm that will force those in charge to sit up and take notice.
Aline Barros's experience of Ireland has not exactly turned out as planned.
We must not let her down again.