His appeal of that decision is now being heard.
Upon his fate depends that of his wife, Bernadette, and their four children, who have built a new life in New Jersey.
Malachy McAllister’s story is in microcosm that of the North’s working-class Catholics over the last 30 troubled years. Forced to flee his home during the turmoil of internment, settling in an area bordered by loyalist streets, teenage years spent harassed and arrested by the security forces, driven from his job by the threats of loyalist gangs — the tale is that of thousands of Belfast’s Catholics. Then, during the emotional months of the 1981 hunger strike, he, like so many young Catholic males, found himself involved (in his case only peripherally) with militant republican groups. For his involvement, he paid the price and served his time. But it was a price clearly not high enough for those in the underworld of the loyalist death squads who still stalk the streets of his home city and who tried one October night to massacre his family.
Despite the uncertainty that hangs over their heads, the McAllisters and their children continue to be productive members of their adopted community.
Surely, if anyone deserves the right to remain in the U.S. and enjoy all the benefits it has to offer — principally, the freedom from the murderous hatreds of their homeland — it is Malachy McAllister and his family.
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