A High Court judge has ruled that an eight-months pregnant Pakistani woman seeking asylum here can not be transferred by sea or air to the UK.

However, Mr Justice Gerard Hogan said she could be transferred to Northern Ireland by road on the understanding that she will not be removed from the island of Ireland pending her delivery.

27-year-old Rizwana Aslam arrived in Ireland via the UK in February this year.

She applied for asylum claiming that as a member of the Ahmadi faith, she would face religious persecution in Pakistan.

In September, she was told she would be transferred to the UK to apply for asylum there as it was her original point of entry into Europe.

She got a temporary injunction in November preventing her transfer on the grounds that she had entered a proxy marriage with a Pakistani man, Fakherr Udin, who has refugee status in Ireland.

In a written judgement handed down today, Mr Justice Gerard Hogan said that while she was not technically married under Irish law, she could be considered married under regulations governing asylum.

However, the case was complicated by the facts that Ms Aslam had said she was single in her original asylum application.

Mr Justice Hogan ruled it was too late for her to claim asylum here on the basis of her proxy marriage.

The state had sought to transfer her to the UK by ferry but Mr Justice Hogan said that would represent a test of endurance which no heavily pregnant woman should face irrespective of whether she lied.

Therefore he said she could be transferred to the UK by road to Northern Ireland.

The Department of Justice is not commenting on the case.