A Nigerian man who was removed from a psychiatric hospital by gardaí and put onto a plane for deportation on Wednesday was taken off the flight and returned to hospital at the eleventh hour.
Jerome Augustine (34) had attempted suicide two weeks previously and was admitted to St Loman's psychiatric hospital in Mullingar, Co Westmeath. He had been living at asylum accommodation in Longford and his application for refugee status had failed. He travelled to Dublin to discuss his case with immigration officials. When he was informed he had no other legal avenues available to challenge his deportation, he attempted to drown himself.
"I threw myself into the river in Dublin beside the immigration office. I thought I'd rather end it all here than die in Nigeria. But I didn't die," said Augustine, speaking to the Sunday Tribune from St Loman's hospital.
"I was talking to the doctor when the gardaí came in to get me... They brought me to the airport and put me on the plane... I thought the plane was about to take-off when they came and took me off it again. They didn't tell me why I was taken off and the people in the hospital here were surprised when I was brought back."
His solicitor Sean Mulvihill said he would now request that Augustine's deportation order be revoked if it is established he is suffering from mental illness.