Arrested Fenit stowaways seeking asylum in Dublin
Five men who were found stowed away on a cargo vessel in Fenit on Friday have now officially applied for asylum in Ireland.
The five Albanian nationals - all aged in their 20s - were arrested by Gardaí in the harbour on Friday afternoon and briefly detained for questioning at Tralee Garda Station.
Crew of the cargo ship BBC Kwiatkowski - an Antiguan registered vessel owned by the German ship leasing company BBC Chartering - found the five men stowed away in the hold of the vessel as it travelled to Ireland from Spain to collect a Liebherr made crane.
The captain of the vessel made contact with gardaí ahead of the ship's arrival in Fenit and a number of gardaí were waiting at the port to detain the men immediately after the ship docked at 12.15pm on Friday afternoon.
It is thought the men managed to sneak aboard the 122-metre vessel while it was docked in Bilbao the previous weekend.
After questioning at Tralee Garda Station, the five men were released into the custody of the Department of Justice's Immigration and International Protection Service which deals with all asylum requests.
The five men - who are now being housed in an asylum seekers' accommodation centre in Dublin - have requested political asylum in Ireland and their applications are now being processed ahead of a decision whether or not to deport them.
Under current international refugee legislation, should the men eventually be deported from Ireland, they would most likely be returned to northern Spain and not to their native Albania.
Albania - a small Balkan nation which is considered relatively prosperous by western European standards - is not part of the EU, although the formerly Communist state has been an accession candidate country since 2014 and it is on the current agenda for future EU enlargement.