A ROMANIAN man and a Pakistani woman have appeared in a Mayo court following a major garda probe into sham marriages.
The pair, Ioan Arminia and Nadia Mir, with addresses in the Ballyhaunis area, are both in their 30s.
They were arrested and charged as part of ‘Operation Vantage’, set up last year by the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) to investigate illegal immigration and identify marriages of convenience.
Arminia, who has an address at Bracklaghboy, Ballyhaunis, appeared before Judge Mary Devins at Castlebar court charged with giving false and misleading information at Castlebar Civil Registrary Office on June 9 last.
Ms. Mir is charged with the same offence and also with giving false and misleading information to an officer of the Refugee Applications Commissioner on September 22 last.
Arminia, who had previously lived and worked in Greece, is now working as a general operative at Western Brand Chickens in Ballyhaunis.
Detective Garda Breandan Ó Suilleabhain of the GNIB said he believed Arminia had been targeted by a gang who organise sham marriages because he was vulnerable.
He had been depressed because of the bad economic situation in Greece and travelled to Ireland where he got a PPS number in May of last year.
The detective garda said that, when interviewed, Mr. Arminia accepted that at the time it had been a marriage of convenience but that now he ‘loves her’.
The accused told gardaí he suffered from depression and ‘needs somebody to be with’.
Judge Devins commented she did not believe in the vulnerability of Mr. Arminia. She felt he had been ‘set up’.
Both defendants will come before Judge Devins again later in the year.