devastated | 

Irish grandparents deported from Australia after arriving without Covid-19 jab exemption

Anne and Audie Ryan-Murphy touched down on Monday in Perth where the unvaccinated pair were interrogated for 10 hours before being locked in a hotel
Anne and Audie Ryan-Murphy touched down on Monday in Perth

Anne and Audie Ryan-Murphy touched down on Monday in Perth

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

The Irish grandparents of an Australian family who had flown to Perth to meet their granddaughter have reportedly been deported after they arrived without a Covid-19 jab exemption.

After a 19 hour flight from Ireland, Anne and Audie Ryan-Murphy touched down on Monday in the Western Australian city where the unvaccinated pair were interrogated for 10 hours before being locked in a hotel.

They have now been deported, according to WAToday, quoting an Australian Border Force spokeswoman who explained the couple had arrived without a valid medical exemption, and had their visas cancelled.

Mr and Ms Ryan-Murphy finally were set to meet their granddaughter for the first time after strict travel restrictions separated them from their family for three years.

Ms Ryan-Murphy said her and her husband believed they had done their due-diligence in the months leading up to their arrival.

“We were devastated. Everyone thinks we're criminals,” Ms Ryan-Murphy told Nine News.

“Have we slipped through a net here? Why were we allowed on (the plane)?

“We told on all the forms that we were unvaxed.”

She added: “I have never seen [my granddaughter]. I have never met her, it breaks my heart.”

But Border Force officials allegedly told the couple that they should have never been allowed on the flight.

Recent rule changes have seen the end of Covid restrictions and mandates across the country. Western Australia also recently dropped a number of its strict Covid requirements and after a two-year hiatus opened its borders to arrivals last month.

However, while travellers no longer need to take a Covid test to fly Down Under, they do need to be vaccinated or have an exemption.

The pair made the long journey to Perth to meet their 20-month-old granddaughter for the first time and had timed their trip to help their son Karl, and his heavily pregnant wife, Leanne Heaney, who are preparing for their second child.

“They were honest about their vaccination status from the very beginning," their son Karl said.

“Under the guidance of a travel agent at home they did everything they were asked to do, weeks’ worth of paperwork and waiting on approvals.”

Karl added: “We are expecting our second baby to be born any day now with an induction booked for May 4, if she doesn't arrive before.

“I know that many of us have been in this terrible situation since Covid, but knowing they are just down the road and we can't be reunited is beyond heart-breaking.

“They had planned on being here for two months to help us find our feet, with very little support here in Perth.”

Meanwhile, Mr and Ms Ryan-Murphy were held at the Hyatt Hotel as, with no other family in Perth, their daughter-in-law requested an exemption on compassionate grounds.

“It’s just so hard to get your head around, that they are so close but will we even get to see them? Will [my daughter] even get to meet them?” Heaney said.

On Tuesday morning, she confirmed they had been deported overnight.

“We aren’t sure what it means for the future, or when we will get to see them again ... [it’s an] incredibly heart-breaking time for our little family,” she said.

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