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Sunday 18 February 2018

14 Kurds found hiding in back of refrigerated lorry at port

Rosslare Harbour
Rosslare Harbour

Louise Kelly and Tom Brady

Fourteen people were found hidden in a truck that arrived by ferry at Rosslare Harbour yesterday afternoon.

Garda immigration officers found the 12 men and two women during a routine search after the ship from France docked around 2pm.

All of the 14 people, including one juvenile, were found inside a refrigerated trailer unit aboard the Irish Ferries Oscar Wilde ferry.

The people, who are believed to be of Kurdish origin from Iraq and Afghanistan, were hidden inside the refrigerated unit for three days.

It is understood that the truck was transporting apples and the temperature of the unit was around 5C.

All members of the group are in good health.

However, one man has been taken to Wexford General Hospital as a precaution.

The ferry had set sail from Cherbourg in France on Saturday night.

All 14 people are being assessed by immigration officers. They will later be referred to the refuge application commissioners. Garda enquiries are ongoing.

It's not the first time people have been found stowed inside containers in Irish ports. Last October, five people, including a three-year-old girl, were found in the back of a lorry in New Ross, Co Wexford.

At the time, members of the group told immigration officers they had paid €5,000 each to be smuggled into Ireland.

In February 2016, nine male refugees were discovered in New Ross huddled in the back of a truck that had arrived at Rosslare Port, Co Wexford.

They had been hidden inside the trailer for at least two days.

"As routes shut down and fences and walls go up, people are finding new ways and methods to reach places of safety," Caroline Reid, communications officer for the Irish Refugee Council, said at the time.

"Until we see more proactive responses and solutions which open up safe and legal ways for people to escape persecution, we will continue to see people making these types of journeys.

"No person should find themselves in a situation where they feel that their only choice is to pay smugglers to transport them on dangerous and arduous journeys with no guarantees for their safety or how or where their journey might end."

Last November, the Garda National Immigration Bureau said 124 migrants had been found at Irish ports during the previous two years.

Irish Independent

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