Category: Archive

Rockland man must wait another six months

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The case of Joe Byrne, who was extradited to Ireland last year on charges related to a decade-old robbery, has been put off until October 20.
And even by that date, the Pearl River man is not guaranteed a definite trial date.
Byrne’s case came up for “mention” in court last month. He has been living with his parents in Dundalk, County Louth since his extradition while his wife, Eileen Grady Byrne, and young daughter, Mairead, both U.S. citizens, remain at the family home in Rockland.
Meanwhile, Byrne’s father, retired Garda sergeant Thomas Byrne, has been carrying out his own investigation into the case and is claiming that he has uncovered evidence of malpractice in the investigation of the case.
Byrne strongly criticized the prosecution of his son in a recent op-ed in the Irish Echo.
Joe Byrne, who ran his own construction business in Rockland County before being extradited, has been jobless in Ireland since his extradition
Byrne’s troubles with the Irish legal authorities are rooted in a 1997 house burglary and the robbery of the pub during which the daughter of the owner was tied up.
Joe Byrne was working in the pub at the time as a part time barman. He was also employed by a local contractor, a man the Byrne family believes had ties to the Irish National Liberation Army.
Byrne was questioned by police after the robberies and made statements he now says were coerced. Either way, he was released without charge at the time. There the matter rested for a decade.
A few years after the robberies, Byrne moved to the U.S. He and Eileen were married and Byrne applied for a green card.
On the advice of an attorney, Byrne admitted to U.S. immigration authorities that he had been questioned by Irish police in connection with the burglary and pub robbery.
The immigration authorities did not see this as an impediment and Byrne was granted legal U.S. residence.
Byrne began his own contracting business and both he and his wife settled into a life that would, in time, include their daughter. Byrne, meanwhile, was able to renew his Irish passport without difficulty.
Then came the extradition warrant and the charges filed by Ireland’s Director of Public Prosecutions. Byrne lost his legal bid to remain in the U.S. when, in late 2007, a court in White Plains ruled in favor of the Irish authorities.
He was able to remain in the U.S. for a few weeks after the ruling before having to leave for Ireland in February, 2008.
Eileen Grady Byrne, who is on disability, flew the Atlantic with her daughter to see her husband just after Christmas.
She recently received a notice from the Department of Homeland Security requesting that she and her husband show up at Federal Plaza in New York City. The notice came because her husband has been out of the country for over a year and ordinarily that can result in loss of an individual’s green card.
Joe Byrne was on track to receive U.S. citizenship, but his wife now worries that he will end up losing his green card and future right to enter the United States.

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