It’s the type of Christmas miracle books are written about: US citizen and mom of four Megan Crowley is now an Irish citizen and will not be deported from Northern Ireland.
Originally from Boston, Crowley applied for Irish citizenship nine months ago. Her leave to remain in the United Kingdom was due to expire on December 23rd and official advice was that her application would only take six months.
But as December 23rd crept closer and closer the application remained unprocessed: Megan, her husband Richard and their four kids, began to contemplate the very real possibility that they would have to face Christmas apart.
With only a day to go before she was due to leave the country and her young family, the postman arrived with the news Megan had been praying for: her application had been approved and she could stay.
Numerous legislators, journalists and ordinary citizens across Ireland have lobbied the Department of Justice to approve Megan application and, in the nick of time, their efforts paid off.
As the British Government has said it will maintain the Common Travel Area, which allows British and Irish citizens to live and work in each others countries, Megan will be unaffected by any changes to UK immigration policy after Brexit in 2019.
The first thing she did was tell her nine year old daughter who’d been worried she might never see her Mom again.
“She started crying and gave me a big hug,” Megan told IrishCentral, “she was so excited!”
“Things have moved very quickly,” a relieved Richard explained. “It’s been a crazy few days but it’s over thank God. We just can’t believe it, we’re kind of half shell shocked.”
Now they can concentrate on Christmas with their kids and they already know how they’ll celebrate.
“Go to Mass,” Megan said laughing. “Open presents and enjoy being legal.”
“It feels great [to be Irish]. I’ll be able to stay with my whole family, it’s always been worrying that we’ll be separated at some point. We didn’t all have the same nationality but now we will. It’s amazing!”
After nine years living in Belfast she says of the city she calls home, “I’ve really grown to love it so I think we’ll be here forever.”