Date Published: 26-May-2011
By Ann Healy
A Galway man has been jailed for two years after accepting money from a Chinese woman so that she could register him as the father on her child’s birth certificate and passport application in order to obtain an Irish passport for the child.
Separated father of three, Graham Hopkins (44), from 7 Castle Park, and hotel maid, Roulan Lin (26), with a former rental address at The Stables, College Road, both pleaded guilty at Galway Circuit Criminal Court to giving false information to a registrar at the Civil Registration Service, Galway, on April 20, 2009, contrary to Section 69(3) of the Civil Registration Act, 2004.
The pair also pleaded guilty to giving false information in connection with a passport application to the registrar at the Civil Registration Office on the same date, contrary to Section 20(1) of the Passport Act, 2008.
Lin came to Ireland in 2004 on a student visa to study English at a language school and worked all along in various hotels and fast-food restaurants, earning meagre wages. She became pregnant by a Chinese man and gave birth to a baby boy on April 19, 2009.
She feared the child would not be allowed remain with her in this country and she paid Hopkins, whom she had met through a mutual friend and who was in financial difficulty, €3,500 to name himself as the child’s father on the birth certificate and on the passport application form.
Sergeant Paudie O’Shea said Hopkins and Lin had been stopped by Immigration officials at Dublin Airport on February 2 last year on their return from a trip to China with the child. Officials were suspicious the child, who had an Irish passport, was not his.“He was trying too hard to be a parent and it made officials suspicious,” Sgt O’Shea said.
He arrested the pair in May and they readily admitted giving false information to authorities in order to obtain an Irish birth certificate and passport for the child so that it could stay in Ireland.
He said Lin’s visa had expired and she was in the country illegally at the time of the offence. Hopkins worked as a bouncer/doorman and had no previous convictions, he added.
Sgt O’Shea said that following a Belgian case before the European Courts recently, Lin had had an opportunity to apply for an Irish passport for the child but that these offences and convictions for them would scupper that now.
Judge Raymond Groarke said he hoped the two-year sentence he felt compelled to impose on Hopkins (on each charge to run concurrently) would act as a deterrent to others.
He imposed the same sentence on Lin but put a stay on the warrant until July 13 next to allow her time to apply for the child’s Chinese passport. The judge said he would fix a final date then after which the warrant would issue if Lin had not been deported in the interim.
Read more in today’s Galway City Tribune
Appeal for information following Portumna crash
Date Published: 08-May-2013
Gardai are appealing for witnesses following a single vehicle crash at the Portumna bridge this morning.
The road from Nenagh to Loughrea reopened shortly after 11 this morning following the completion of a technical exam.
Four men were travelling in a van when they hit the Portumna bridge around 6:30 this morning.
Gardaí, ambulance and two units of Portumna fire services rushed to the scene, and one of the men was taken to Portiuncula hospital in Ballinasloe.
He is being treated for head injuries, which have been described by Gardaí as serious.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Portumna Garda station on 09-097-42060
President Higgins among GMIT’s first ever honorary fellowships
Date Published: 10-May-2013
GMIT is to honour seven outstanding individuals including President Michael D Higgins with Honorary Fellowships at a special ceremony later this month.
It’s the first time in the 40 year history of the Institute the Governing Body of GMIT has decided to award honorary fellowships.
The GMIT Honorary Fellowships will be conferred at the g Hotel in the city this day two weeks Friday 24 May at 2.30pm in front of 200 invited guests.
Galway commuters hold their breath as LRC intervenes in bus strike
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Galway commuters are holding their breath as there has been a potential breakthrough in the Bus Eireann dispute, as both sides have agreed to talks at the Labour Relations Commission.
The LRC intervened this afternoon, on day two of strike action that has seen 95 per cent of bus services disrupted across the country.
The LRC’s Director of Conciliation Services, Kevin Foley, says the National Bus and Rail Union and the company have agreed to meet for mediated talks at 8 this evening.