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Woman with 'two identities' told she can't wed

by Tim Healy
Thursday, May 17, 2012

AN Irishman and a woman who claims to be Somali -- but whose fingerprints are said to match those of a Tanzanian national -- have lost their bid to be allowed to marry.

Mr Justice John Hedigan said yesterday that it was clear Lelia Ismail Tahir "has at least two identities".

The judge dismissed the challenge by Ms Tahir, of Drishane Castle accommodation centre, Millstreet, Co Cork, and Raymond Paul Sheehan, of Shandon Way, Shandon Street, Cork, to refusals by the Registrar for Co Cork and an tArd Chlaraitheoir to issue them with a marriage registration form.

They had been refused documents because Ms Tahir had not provided sufficient evidence of her claimed Somalian identity.

Ms Tahir arrived here in June 2008 and applied for asylum, the judge noted. Some weeks after her appeal against the refusal of asylum was rejected, she and Mr Sheehan decided to marry.

They were given an appointment for late June 2010 to fulfil the necessary requirements to provide the required three month notification of their intention to marry.

Their solicitors wrote to the Registrar in late May 2010, stating that Ms Tahir was a Somali national who was unable to obtain identity documents.

On being told evidence of identity was required under law, their solicitors replied there was difficult obtaining identity documents from Somalia.

The identity issue remained unresolved during several visits by the couple to the Registrar's office, After their third visit in August 2010, a detective from the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) informed the registrar he believed Ms Tahir was not from Somalia.


The Registrar referred the file to an tArd Chlaraitheoir who contacted the GNIB and was advised there were serious questions about Ms Tahir's identity.

Dismissing their case, Mr Justice Hedigan said Ms Tahir had claimed to be a Somali national but failed to state asylum was refused because her fingerprints matched those of a Tanzanian national.

Ms Tahir's explanation for the matching fingerprints -- that she met a man in Kenya who said he could get her documents for travelling and took her to an office "very far from Kenya" where her fingerprints could have been taken -- lacked credibility.

Irish Independent


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