Minister for Health Simon Harris says he has made representations to the Department of Justice and Equality in relation to the case of Eric Zhi Ying Xue, a nine-year-old boy who is due to be deported to China.

Eric, who is from Bray, Co Wicklow, was born in Ireland but he is not a citizen.

Mr Harris, who is a TD for Wicklow, says he has appealed for Eric to remain in Ireland on humanitarian grounds.

In a statement the Minister said: "Quite frankly, Eric is Irish. He was born here, goes to school here and has never lived anywhere else.

"This is his home. This is his country. I really hope common sense can prevail."

Eric’s school, St Cronan's School in Bray, believes he is facing "imminent" deportation to China, along with his mother.

His mother, Leena Mei Mei Xue, arrived in Ireland 12 years ago.

Her attempts to regularise her residency failed, and a deportation order was served against her in 2015.

A last appeal was rejected in June.

The school has said it is overwhelmed by the public support it has received for a campaign to prevent the deportation.

Over 36,000 people have signed an online petition organised by St Cronan's School, since the school opened it at 3.30pm on Tuesday.