‘I want to get home to Albury’

FORMER Paddy’s bartender Brian O’Boyle may spend his birthday in the Villawood Detention Centre and fears he could be locked up for a year because he can’t fly to Ireland with the injuries he sustained in a Dean Street bashing.

The Irishman, 35, yesterday said he had been tricked into forking out $600 for a bogus permanent visa 4½ years ago at a Melbourne backpacker hostel.

He told The Border Mail from the Sydney detention centre that he had since had contact with police and appeared in court in Melbourne, yet no one had twigged to his illegal status.

He said he’d been paying taxes and working legally, including in Albury as a bartender.

The first time he realised there was a problem was during Saturday’s visit to the Albury police station to make a statement about being seriously assaulted.

Mr O’Boyle said he was about leave the station when told he was to remain into custody.

“He said: ‘the visa is not valid’ and I said ‘It is’ and he said ‘no, it isn’t’ — I was baffled.”

Mr O’Boyle said he had endured a 10-hour nightmare in police cells without food because he could eat only soup because of his injuries.

He’s spent three days at Villawood in a block where few speak English. He had hallucinated and was in too much pain to sleep properly.

Mr O’Boyle, whose family lives in Dublin, said he needed urgent surgery after being left with a broken jaw, nose and scratched eye.

As he waits for confirmation he’ll be given access to a specialist while in detention, he said he hoped to walk out of Villawood before his birthday next week.

“Whenever the immigration department take you, the first question they ask is if you want to go home and I said ‘yes’,” Mr Boyle said.

“I want to go home to Albury, my house, my girlfriend, my cat, my friends.

“I’ve been in Australia for 6½ years— I thought legally.”