Sunday 18 February 2018

Over 3,000 people prevented entering Ireland through Dublin Airport last year - top garda

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Robin Schiller

Over 3,000 people were prevented entering Ireland through Dublin Airport last year as part of large-scale investigations into illegal immigration.

Assistant Garda Commissioner John O’Driscoll, who is in charge of Special Crime Operations, said that people are being refused entry on the grounds of immigration laws on an ongoing basis.

He added that other agencies both domestically and internationally are co-operating to tackle the smuggling of illegal immigrants.

Approximately 3,300 people were detected at Dublin Airport under illegal immigration laws, which the senior officer said was a 15pc increase on those turned away in 2015.

It comes as gardai continue to question two Aer Lingus employees in relation to an illegal immigrant smuggling network at Dublin Airport. Another man, believed to be a foreign national, was also arrested as part of this morning’s operation.

“On an ongoing basis we are refusing leave to land for people who are detected in the course of attempting to enter the State," Assistant Garda Commissioner John O’Driscoll, said.

"With regards to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Services and An Garda Siochana combined, we refused leave to land to in the region of 3,300 people at Dublin Airport last year. This is an increase somewhere in the region of 15pc on the previous year.

“That type of refusal of leave to land is done on an ongoing basis. There are also other means of facilitating illegal immigration and that other people can facilitate it,” Mr O’Driscoll said.

Refusal of permission of leave to land in the State is regulated by Section 4(3) of the Immigration Act 2004.

Speaking at a media briefing at Harcourt Square this afternoon, the senior garda also said that the financial transactions of suspected illegal immigrant smugglers were being monitored on an ongoing basis.

“Clearly people who are from particular jurisdictions are willing to pay particular sums of money if they can enter a jurisdiction where they wouldn’t have the capacity,” Mr O’Driscoll said.

“There is always the temptation to succumb to offerings of corrupt payments. That ongoing payment is being monitored,” he added.

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