| 3.2°C Dublin

So excited Irishman stuck in Australia finally gets permission to visit premature son in New Zealand

'If you gave me this two weeks ago, I would have taken my hand off for it'

Close

Declan Grady was stranded 5,000 kilometres away in Perth, Australia when his pregnant Kiwi wife Ferne Robinson unexpectedly gave birth to his son Mikey in New Zealand.

Declan Grady was stranded 5,000 kilometres away in Perth, Australia when his pregnant Kiwi wife Ferne Robinson unexpectedly gave birth to his son Mikey in New Zealand.

Declan Grady was stranded 5,000 kilometres away in Perth, Australia when his pregnant Kiwi wife Ferne Robinson unexpectedly gave birth to his son Mikey in New Zealand.

An Irishman has expressed his relief and joy after he was finally granted permission to visit his son who was born prematurely in New Zealand. 

Declan Grady was stranded 5,000 kilometres away in Perth, Australia when his pregnant Kiwi wife unexpectedly gave birth to his son Mikey, at 26 weeks.

Ferne Robinson was visiting family in Palmerston North when she suddenly went into labour and gave birth in Wellington two weeks ago.

Her desperate husband Declan has now been granted an MIQ (Managed isolation and quarantine) spot which is required to enter New Zealand so he can now travel to meet his son.

Grady has a flight booked for Monday and will complete isolation on November 8, his birthday.

“I’m just so excited,” he said. “I’m already packed ready to go.”

As well as applying for MIQ, Grady, who is Irish, had to get a New Zealand visa.

“It’s been a crazy two weeks ... I had to sort out a visa from Australia, then I had to sort out MIQ. It has just been non-stop, just chasing paperwork, checking emails, getting up early to match New Zealand time, in case you can do anything during the day,” he said.

While he will have to spend another two weeks in MIQ, away from his son, Grady avoided a worst-case scenario that would have separated him from his wife and Mikey for up to five months.

“If you gave me this two weeks ago, I would have taken my hand off for it," he added.

Robinson's attempts to get back to Australia switched to a desperate attempt to get Grady to New Zealand, after her waters broke and she gave birth to baby Mikey in Wellington Hospital.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

Grady was facing a five-month wait to meet his son as Mikey is unable to leave intensive care until his January due date, and would not be able to fly immediately after that.

Grady paid tribute to the efforts of Aucklander Roshni Sami, who is campaigning to make pregnancy an MIQ priority category, as well as supporting pregnant couples stuck overseas or separated by New Zealand’s closed border.

“I definitely would not be there without her help,” Grady said. “She’s just been awesome.”

The pregnant Auckland woman is taking the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to court in a desperate attempt to get an MIQ voucher for her stranded husband.

Roshni Sami should be looking forward to the Christmas Eve birth of her first child. Instead, the 40-year-old is so stressed her midwife is worried for the baby.

Sami’s husband Walter Spears is one of thousands shut out of New Zealand because he cannot get a spot in a managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facility. His emergency application to return to care for Sami was rejected on 23 September.

In a last-ditch effort, the couple has filed for a judicial review of that decision at Auckland’s High Court.

Having worked overseas, the pair returned to New Zealand in April to care for Sami’s elderly, unwell parents. When they discovered they were pregnant, Spears returned to the United States to tie up loose ends. They realised there would be a wait for MIQ, but never imagined he would be left stranded.

When he logged in for Tuesday’s MIQ lottery, Spears was number 24,276 in the queue.

“It’s pretty depressing,” Sami said. “Me and my husband are approaching one of the most significant events in our lives and it’s also a scary event. And there’s just no recognition of that from the state. I’m severely stressed. It’s affecting me at work. I worry about the baby a lot.”

Since 30 October 2020, MIQ has received 229 applications involving a pregnant person. However, there is no specific emergency allocation criteria for pregnant women, or their partners, who are stuck overseas.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Top Videos





Privacy