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16 men and boys discovered in truck container are believed to be Kurdish, gardaí say

A local councillor told RTÉ that the men and boys may have believed they were bound for the UK.

The scene at Rosslare Europort yesterday evening.
The scene at Rosslare Europort yesterday evening.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Images

Updated Nov 22nd 2019, 12:08 PM

THE 16 PEOPLE found in a truck container at Rosslare Europort are believed to be of Kurdish ethnicity, An Garda Síochána has said, adding that their formal identification is still ongoing.

Of the 16 males discovered yesterday, 14 are adults who have sought international protection. The two others are believed to be juveniles and are currently in the care of Tusla.

The adults are to be processed by the International Protection Office (an office within the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service), and are currently being accommodated by the Reception and Integration Agency.

How they were found

The container was on board a Stena Line ferry which departed from Cherbourg, France on Wednesday night and arrived in Rosslare just after 3pm yesterday afternoon, where the 16 males were found.

Ian Hampton, Stena Line’s chief people and communications officer, confirmed an employee discovered the people during a routine inspection.

“One of our employees, during a routine inspection, discovered 16 people in a sealed trailer on the vehicle deck.

He said that Stena Line then alerted security and immigration officials in Rosslare to prepare for the group’s arrival in Rosslare.

They received medical treatment at the scene, and gardaí said they were “fortunate” to be found.

‘In quite good health’

Speaking to the media yesterday evening, Superintendent James Doyle said that the males were in good health and were being processed under Irish immigration law. 

Independent local councillor Ger Carthy, who is also an advanced paramedic and attended the scene yesterday in Rosslare, told RTÉ Radio One this morning that the males were in “quite good spirits and somewhat shocked at the traumatic situation they’d found themselves in”. 

He said the adults’ ages ranged from around 18-35.

“Fortunately, they were in quite good health,” he said. “They were checked over by the national ambulance service staff, nursing staff at Wexford General and cared for by the immigration services and An Garda Síochána.”

“We believe they may have looked for asylum in the United Kingdom, and they may have got in the wrong trailer,” Carthy said, but added that that would be investigated fully by the Gardaí.

He suggested that “the checks and balances” across Europe should be improved to ensure people don’t resort to such unsafe modes of travel.

Carthy said it’s understood the trailer was a refrigerated trailer but it wasn’t turned on. 

Following a medical assessment, the men were due to be transferred to a centre in Dublin after 8pm last night. 

Carthy added: “I’d like to commend Wexford General Hospital and all the services because the emergency department went to the boat as opposed to the casualties coming to the general hospital with two senior consultants.

They’re to be commended for the work they’re done. Let’s hope this is a once off… let’s hope this isn’t a common thing. We don’t want to lose lives on boats or even on our shores there.

- updated by Gráinne Ní Aodha

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Sean Murray

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