A Chinese man beamed with relief when the passport, which will allow him return to his homeland to see his dying mother, was returned to him at Mullingar District Court last week.
Zhangqigang Tang had been arrested at Curry King in Delvin a number of weeks ago.
He pleaded guilty to being employed in a place other than that specified on his work permit and of failing to register with authorities when he came to Delvin.
Mr Tang was working as a chef in Curry King at the time, where he had been employed by another Chinese national whom Gardaí have been unable to make contact with.
However, Mr Tang was registered in New Ross in Wexford and his work permit entitled him to work as a graphic designer in that town and doesn’t allow him to work in a different town or in a different profession, the court heard.
Ms Patricia Cronin told the court he had initially come to Ireland in 2002 but left in August of last year and returned here in November.
She said he was anxious to return home because his mother is seriously ill and not expected to live.
He acknowledged he had no work permit, she said, but wanted to earn some money to return home. He had only been at Curry King for four days when arrested and had not been paid.
He had been hoping for one or two weeks’ work which would allow him pay for the flight; he had asked a friend to try to get him temporary work.
Ms Cronin said her client apologised and that he didn’t really understand the problem. She added that he was in a very poor financial situation and that his sister had since given him the money to go home.
Judge Lucey convicted Mr Tang and fined him €250.