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Dublin: 19°C Friday 23 July 2021

"We've avoided a tragedy here" - people of New Ross just relieved that discovered migrants are alive

Five people, including a three-year-old girl, were found in a container transported to Rosslare from France at the weekend.

3875563132_401463ea3f_z The Oscar Wilde ferry on which the five people were transported from France Source: Harry Pears

THE DISCOVERY AT the weekend of five people in a container at New Ross, Co Wexford, is not the first time the locality has been affected by such human trafficking.

Last February, Gardaí discovered nine men inside a container that was also delivered to New Ross.

The locality feels it has avoided a human disaster.

“We’ve avoided a tragedy here,” says local councillor Michael Sheehan.

Thankfully incidents like this are quite rare, but the authorities have been 100% forthright on how they dealt with it.
You have to commend them, we’d have been dealing with a tragedy without them.

Fellow New Ross councillor Michael Whelan similarly cuts a relieved figure.

“The thing is, it’s happened before, and recently” he said. “But they’re alive like, that’s what matters.”

The five people – three men, a woman, and a three-year-old girl – who were found in the container had travelled to Ireland from Cherbourg in France on an Irish Ferries sailing.

They have now come under the auspices of the Refugee Commissioner.

They’re believed to be Kurdish, having escaped from Iraq. It’s understood that they will apply for asylum. In all likelihood, they will thus enter the Direct Provision system.

Last month, an International Refugee Council survey of European sentiment found that Ireland is the most sympathetic country towards the arrival of Syrian refugees.

However, the enaction of the International Protection Act 2015 last year has given the gardaí increased powers of deportation. Over 4,000 people are due to be deported from Ireland this year according to Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.

Spokeswoman for the Irish Refugee Council Caroline Reid says that the people involved “have no choice” but to embark on such hazardous journeys.

“This highlights the desperate need for people to reach safe countries like Ireland,” she says.

It’s why people are putting themselves in the hands of smugglers – they are in incredibly precarious situations in their own countries.

Reid says that incidents such as this are “just another indicator of the need to find a safe and legal passage for people with protection needs”.

“People embarking on long and dangerous journeys, knowing they won’t be afforded protection at home anytime soon, attempt to travel through various channels to countries where they perceive they will be safe and free from violence, a place they can have some quality of life,” she said.

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