A former Keady resident – who was being held in a detention centre and facing deportation from Australia – will today spend his 70th birthday with the family he faced losing forever.
Michael McFadden left Keady in the 1950s, when he was just 10 years of age, going to Australia.
He went on to fight in the Vietnam War for his adopted country.
And, like many who did so, he survived, but came out suffering the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder and battling alcohol dependency. He also sustained brain damage.
Mr McFadden raised a family of three sons and has six loving grandchildren in Australia.
But since April he had been held in an immigration centre facing deportation back to Northern Ireland.
He had never applied for full citizenship and his visa was revoked when this came to light, after he was involved in an alcohol related incident on a train where, according to his lawyer, he had resisted being apprehended.
So, despite fighting for Australia in the Vietnam War, he was facing the prospect of being sent back here, a country he cannot remember, having left aged 10, while leaving his sons and grandchildren behind Down Under.
A public campaign, including a petition set up on Change.org, however, has led to the Australian authorities revoking the deportation.
They have now released him from the immigration centre this week and he in the care of a local Sydney hospital.
The campaign will now continue for full citizenship.
But Mr McFadden will now be able to mark his 70th birthday surrounded by his family today – and should be able to live out the rest of his days in Australia, the country seen as his real home!
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