Writes Ciaran Dineen
The number of Albanian nationals attempting to enter Ireland illegally over the past nine months has risen to 26, with the discovery last week of eight migrants, who were found between pallets on a truck in Ringaskiddy, having just arrived off a container ship from Santander, Spain.
This follows a worrying trend of negligence on behalf of authorities in Northern Spain, with an almost identical incident occurring just one month earlier, where four Albanian citizens were found in another container on that occasion. While the journey itself takes a little over one day of travel, it is thought that the stowaways could have been en route for up to four days by the time they were caught in Ringaskiddy.
McGrath TD, on hearing of this latest illegal immigration attempt said that the
last nine months has revealed a “troubling pattern” with regards to the issue
of human trafficking to South Cork. McGrath spoke of the incident last week in
Dáil Éireann where he expressed his deep concerns on the matter and
subsequently the statistics showing the number of Albanian’s attempting to
reach the country were revealed by the Department of Justice.
“I think it points to a troubling pattern here, given the number involved, and I think it’s clearly a failing on the Spanish side in relation to their security and their immigration controls. We could well be looking at criminality in terms of human trafficking here, so I think at a political level, the Irish Government need to take up this issue at a senior level with the Spanish authorities,” McGrath said.
The route between Santander and Cork operates twice weekly following its conception in May of last year. While it has been a success to date, this is a damaging side effect and could be a worry in the near future with regards to issues surrounding Brexit. It is thought that following these latest findings conversations between officials in Dublin and Santander have been made, with the hope of coming to a resolution. As of time of writing four of those found have already been deported in accordance with Section 5 of the Immigration Act 2003, where they were returned to Santander. Three of the remaining four await deportation but their current location is unknown. A 16 year-old who was among the hidden passengers is believed to be in care pending further inquiries.
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