The Irish John and Sharon Tyrell-Haslam family are counting on the kindness of others, including Irish woman Louise Mullan who has offered to champion their case, as they attempt to navigate their legal limbo in Canada.

John and Sharon Tyrell-Haslam and their three children have lived in Canada for just over three years, reports Castanet. John entered the country on a work permit while Sharon entered on a study visa.

When the couple sent their youngest child’s passport to Ireland for renewal, COVID hit and paperwork was caught up in Irish lockdowns. During an emergency passport application, John and Sharon’s permits expired on March 31 last year.

“We went to the border to find out what to do,” Sharon told Castanet earlier in February. “We couldn’t extend our permits because we lacked a passport.”

To complicate matters further, the family mistakenly crossed the border into the United States in an attempt to turn around and return to Vernon, British Columbia, where John was working and Sharon was studying at university.

“We were stripped of our status because we crossed by accident,” Sharon said. “We were pushed by traffic, trying to turn around.”

Because they left the country, the whole family had to self-quarantine for two weeks and then were told they could no longer stay in Canada as they had been deemed “inadmissible”.

In January, the family learned that a restraining order had been issued, but only for three of them. However, they cannot travel due to the youngest child’s missing Irish passport.

In addition, the family “love” living in Canada and do not wish to return to Ireland.

Having learned of the family’s fate, Louise Mullan, an Omagh native who has lived in Canada for more than 50 years, became the family’s point of contact and attorney.

Mullan told IrishCentral last week that having been declared ‘without status’, the Irish family cannot work, collect welfare, access medical cover, and the three children cannot go to school. school or be homeschooled, because in British Columbia, “you have to be connected to a school to get in,” Mullan explained.

“They were able to continue paying their rent until September 2021, when their finances ran out without any income,” Mullan said.

“That’s when they became homeless. A local homeless agency stepped in and provided them with accommodation in a place that was not 5 star, but it was a roof over their heads.

Castanet reports that the family lives at the Bel Air Motel in Vernon with the help of Turning Points Collaborative Society.

“When I say they have no money,” Mullan continued, “I really mean they have NO money, living on tin pikes, as they say in Ireland.

“They rely on the generosity of the people of Vernon to buy their groceries through gift cards and wire transfers to me.”

Regarding the order of removal of three family members, Mullan remarked “They’re a family of five, so what happens to the other two?”

She continued: “They are a lovely family who only want to stay and work in Canada.

“They have no criminal record, not even a speeding ticket, and are decent, hard-working people who have paid their taxes while working and studying legally in Canada under their work permits and of studies.

“It’s an extremely stressful situation for the family, but they haven’t despaired and are trying to stay as positive as possible while staying in limbo. I don’t know if I could have the attitude they are showing.

Mullan said this week that John and Sharon “are just tired of repeating the same story over and over.”

She remarked, “How they stay sane is beyond me with this state of limbo that’s been going on for nearly a year with no resolution in sight.”

Louise Mullan says she can be reached at [email protected].


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