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Wisconsin man says he was detained by Irish officials, denied seeing his family

Updated: September 10, 2019 06:29 PM

An Amery, Wisconsin man says he was detained for a day and a night by Irish customs officials at the airport in Dublin after flying over to see his family. His wife is native to Northern Ireland and she has moved there with their children to be closer to family, while he remains here in the U.S. working to support them.

"It was that feeling of being powerless in a foreign country," said Ryan Volrath.

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He says after hours without food, water, or his cell phone, he was put on a plane back to the U.S. 

Volrath says he had booked a ten-day trip to see his family and celebrate his birthday, but when he arrived for a quick stopover in Dublin Sunday night, he never made it any further. He said customs officials didn't believe his reason for visiting or that he had plans to leave... despite the fact that he had a return ticket and a letter from his employer about returning to work.

A customs form said the decision was based on the grounds that the "non-national intends to enter the state for purposes other than those expressed."

Volrath says it's difficult to be separated from his family. He says his youngest son was just two-months-old during his last visit.

"He doesn't know my feel, my touch, my smell," he said.

A family attorney said in a statement that Volrath was treated unlawfully and that they have plans to take legal action.

Family and friends have also launched a petition to help Volrath visit his family. More than 28,000 people had signed it by Tuesday afternoon. Click here for more information.

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Ellen Galles

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