Gardai deport eight migrants found hidden in ship container
The migrants discovered in a container at the Port of Waterford have been deported.
Gardai last night confirmed the eight men discovered hiding on a bulk cargo ship travelling from France on Wednesday “have been deported from this jurisdiction to the last country of origination”.
A statement from the Garda Press Office said: “Following an assessment of their immigration status carried out during the day by Garda Immigration Officers attached to Waterford Garda Station assisted by the Garda National Immigration Bureau all eight males were refused ‘leave to land’ in this jurisdiction.
“All eight males were deported, under Garda escort, on a ferry destined for Cherbourg which departed from Rosslare at 8.30pm.”
Waterford Fianna Fáil TD Mary Butler said the incident highlighted the need for improved security measures to tackle people smuggling at our smaller ports.
Deputy Butler said: “Thankfully all of the men appear to be in good health, but the reality of the situation is that we have seen a number of high-profile deaths in England this year, as people place themselves at risk by travelling in the back of container ships.
“Only last week at the most recent Joint Policing Committee meeting, I questioned our preparedness to deal with illegal migrants, particularly here in the new Waterford/Kilkenny/Carlow Garda division. I was given assurances that officers had carried out a drill and they were satisfied that they were equipped to deal with the situation.
“While I appreciate that larger Ports like Rosslare and Dublin command the bulk of resources, I believe yesterday’s discovery highlights the need for measures to be extended to smaller ports like Waterford.”
Deputy Butler (pictured below) said the Port of Waterford is “a huge strategic asset” in the South East, which she said underlines the importance of ensuring strict measures are in place to combat people trafficking.
She added: “People who arrive in Ireland in this way have taken their lives in their hands, and while we need to see proper tracking and monitoring procedures in place to prevent smuggling in the first instance, there is also a humanitarian element to this issue.
“We need to ensure there is extra HSE personnel, with translation supports, as well as the Garda and security response, to deal with such incidents. There is now a focus on the larger ports, but smaller ports also need to be included.”