Pensioner gets slight reprieve from deportation – after new heart scare

April 3rd, 2017 10:14 PM

By Jackie Keogh

Gayle with singer Emma Langford who visited Ballydehob recently and dedicated a song to Gayle.

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AN American woman facing deportation from West Cork has been allowed to stay for two more weeks after she was rushed to Cork University Hospital last Thursday.

On instruction from immigration control, Gayle Stacey had a ticket booked for an 11am flight from Dublin to Boston on Friday, March 31st, but at 10am last Thursday, March 23rd, her neighbour brought her to CUH after she experienced extreme breathlessness and couldn’t walk.

Gayle was taken to A&E and was seen almost immediately. Afterwards, her cardiologist determined that the 67-year old pensioner, who wants to make West Cork her home, is not fit to travel and gave her a medical certificate for the next two weeks.

Gayle returned to her home at Rathravane in Ballydehob on Wednesday morning, where she spoke to The Southern Star. ‘I am feeling better but the stress of the situation last week got to me,’ she said. 

‘I’m still feeling anxious about leaving and can only hope the Minister for Justice will give me a reprieve.’

In the meantime, Gayle is hoping that her solicitor will assist her in her efforts to continue living out her retirement in West Cork – a place that she fell in love with when she first visited here in May of 2015.

Locally, people are signing a petition requesting that this ‘gracious and vivacious’ lady be allowed to remain in West Cork despite the fact that she does not meet the immigration rules that require her to have a yearly income of €50,000, plus €150,000 in the bank.

Gayle has assured immigration officers, and the Department of Justice, that she has no debts or liabilities, has private health insurance, and a good pension, and will not be a burden on the State.

Even with a good pension, Gayle said she fears she would not be able to afford private healthcare in the US because of President Trump’s determination to repeal the Affordable Health Care Plan, otherwise known as Obamacare.

She also said her beautiful three-bed, two-bath, stone-faced home that is pond and stream adjacent, would cost four times as much to rent in the US.

‘My pension allows me to live here quite comfortably,’ she said, ‘but if I go back to the US, I will be impoverished.’

Gayle said she poses ‘no risk’ to Ireland. ‘All I do is live here. I don’t raise insurrections.’

Facing deportation, she said, has left her feeling exhausted, but she said the support she is receiving from the people in West Cork, and the rest of the country, is encouraging. 

She is hoping that support will translate into permission – tacit or otherwise – that will allow her to remain in West Cork for the rest of her days.

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