Tom Brady: 'Desperation of illegals means people smuggling will continue'
Co-operation between the Garda and other European police forces in the fight to halt people smuggling and illegal immigration has increased significantly in the past few years.
But despite this co-operation, the determination and desperation of the illegals ensures that smuggling will continue.
A horrific end awaited the 39 people whose desperation to escape their home country motivated them to risk being smuggled in a refrigeration unit as it travelled to the UK.
Initial information from the Essex police yesterday morning wrongly inferred that the container had journeyed through Ireland on its way to its intended English destination.
For a few hours, it looked like another smuggling tragedy on our doorstep. It was much worse in terms of fatalities than the discovery of eight Turkish refugees, including three children, whose bodies were found in a shipping container in Wexford town in December 2001. Their sea journey, too, had originated in the Belgium port of Zeebrugge.
Gardai are now satisfied that the container discovered in an Essex industrial park had not been in this country as it was being taken from mainland Europe to the UK.
But it underlines again the need for checks and vigilance at all sea ports and along the Border to prevent another tragedy.
The benefits of those growing links emerged again this week in a Welsh court when a Latvian mother living in Blanchardstown was jailed for 28 months for her part in facilitating a breach of immigration law at Holyhead port.
The arrest of Linda Jankovska resulted from a joint investigation lasting three months between the Garda National Immigration Bureau and the British Home Office Criminal Enforcement Investigation Unit into the smuggling of Albanians from Ireland into the UK.
Ms Jankovska, a 24-year-old shop worker and pizza deliverer, admitted her part in the crime after she was stopped driving a car through the port of Holyhead with two Albanian illegal immigrants as passengers.
She had arrived on a ferry from Dublin and the booking, using false names, had been paid in cash. She told border officials her front seat passenger was her boyfriend but when asked for his name, she replied "whatever he said".
The Albanians had both claimed asylum here but, according to the prosecuting lawyer, their true intention had been to enter the UK unlawfully and remain there as economic migrants.
It was not the first - and it won't be the last - attempt by illegal immigrant facilitators to use Ireland as a back-door route into the UK for their clients.
The Albanians were lucky in that the worst fate they could suffer was to be arrested and dealt with by the courts.
The onset of Brexit will only make the job of immigration officials ever more complex.