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    Returning emigrant speaks of HRC hardship

    By Noreen Bowden | July 13, 2007

    Vincent Lavery, the 71-year-old teacher who returned from California to Ireland only to be told he was ineligible for pension or social welfare benefits, has appeared in an RTE news report on the habitual residency condition.

    The report highlighted Mr Lavery’s political activism and his thirty-five year career as a teacher. “I never entertained the idea that I would live off the state”, he said.

    “When I got back, reality hit me”, he said. “My credentials have not been approved, even though I’ve been involved in public education for 35 years”. He has been given €14,000 euro by a relative to enable him to maintain a basic lifestyle. “It’s not easy”, he said, his voice breaking.

    Emigrant Advice worker Joe O’Brien said, “It’s something that needs to be tackled immediately because it’s simply unacceptable that returning Irish emigrants should be refused the safety and the protection of the welfare system here on their return”.

    Minister for Social and Family Affairs Martin Cullen says that he will consider reviewing the current situation regarding the HRC, but as the reportre notes, time is running out for Vincent Lavery.

    “There is the possibility that I go back to America”, he said. “There is that possibility, which would be the final chapter in this Odyssey”.

    See the report on the Six-One News website.

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