THE former Paddy’s barman now behind bars in Villawood Detention Centre has won some high-profile backers, with two Albury councillors joining forces to collect signatures of support for the Irishman.
Brian O’Boyle recently had his bid for a bridging visa rejected and will remain behind bars during Christmas and New Year before a scheduled appeal on January 2.
Mr O’Boyle said those processing his claim had told him he had no support in the community.
That’s a statement rejected by his friends, fiancee and Albury councillors Daryl Betteridge and Darren Cameron.
Cr Betteridge, who knew Mr O’Boyle as a regular customer at his Dean Street pizza business, said he was confident of getting 1000 signatures backing the Irishman.
“He was one of those people you warmed to instantly. He just had a warm, gregarious nature,” Cr Betteridge said.
“I think he was a quality person Albury was a nicer place with.”
If reunited with his fiancee, who lives in Albury, Mr O’Boyle hopes to apply for a partner visa.
He said he was distraught to be in Villawood at Christmas, the one-year anniversary of his engagement.
Mr O’Boyle was detained after he went to police to report a vicious assault on Dean Street that left him with a broken jaw — and police discovered he had been living in the country illegally since 2008, the result, Mr O’Boyle said, of being sold a fake visa.
He stepped into the Dean Street brawl to protect a woman being assaulted.
Cr Cameron, who first met Mr O’Boyle socially, said it was in his friend’s nature to help others and wanted to work with indigenous youth.
The petition will be placed at Sweethearts Pizza and other Albury businesses.