04 March 2006

Asylum couple evicted from hostel


Oleg Federoski was evicted from a hostel for asylum seekers

A Ukranian couple have been evicted from their accommodation after their application for asylum failed.

The police removed Oleg Federoski and his wife Elena from a hostel when the Home Office refused them permission to stay in Northern Ireland.

The Home Office said they could not comment on individual cases.

Mr Federoski said he did not know what he and his wife would do following the eviction. They left Ukraine before it became independent.

"I came here (Northern Ireland) because it was my dream," he said.

"But now I find myself almost on the street, between bushes or cold dirty roads.

"I do not know what will come on Monday - during the weekend we will be with the Simon Community for a couple of nights."

SDLP South Belfast MP Alasdair McDonnell has been helping the family with their case.

He said: "This is a very distressing case... these people have been evicted from their hostel.

"Their application for asylum has failed, but they are stateless.

"They left the Ukraine when it was still part of the Soviet Union, before it became an independent country, and technically they have forfeited rights to Ukrainian citizenship."

The MP said the couple had been in Northern Ireland for four years and were now "caught between a rock and a hard place".

"It is frightening that in the 21st century, the year 2006, that in a country relatively prosperous... we could treat people like this."

Following a BBC interview with Mr McDonnell, he said his office had been inundated with offers of accommodation for the couple.

A south Belfast landlord has offered them a house to stay in over the next few weeks.

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