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Two Aer Lingus staff among three arrested at Dublin Airport over alleged people smuggling

The arrests are connected to a garda investigation into suspected facilitation of illegal immigrants.

Image: Leah Farrell

Updated 11pm

THREE PEOPLE arrested in connection with alleged smuggling of illegal immigrants through Dublin Airport are to appear in court tomorrow morning.

Two of the men arrested are Aer Lingus employees. The third was a suspected illegal immigrant. Gardaí suspect the two Aer Lingus workers were facilitating this man’s illegal entry into the state.

The arrests of the three men (aged 61, 56 and 28) took place at the airport last night in an operation carried out by the Garda Immigration Bureau (GNIB) assisted by the Garda Special Detective Unit (SDU).

The three men are currently detained at Ballymun and Coolock garda stations.

Speaking to reporters on Monday afternoon, Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll said gardaí have searched a number of premises and vehicles as part of the investigation.

They are working to identify how many occasions in the past this may have taken place. He said gardaí investigating this incident were analysing a “considerable amount of data”.

23/1/2017 Illegal immigrant smuggling Garda Assistant Commissioner John O'Driscoll said there is always a temptation for people to succumb to the offering of corrupt payments. Source: Sam Boal

Clearly people who are from particular jurisdictions are willing to pay considerable sums of money if they can enter a jurisdiction where they would not otherwise have that capacity. There is always a temptation there for people to succumb to the offering of corrupt payments.

O’Driscoll said Ireland’s reputation would be “greatly damaged” if it did not show a capacity to continuously monitor immigration controls. However, he pointed out that authorities are regularly refusing leave to land to people detected in the course of their attempt to enter the state.

Last year, they refused leave to land to some 3,300 people – a 15% increase on the previous year.

In a statement, the Aer Lingus confirmed two of its employees had been arrested and said it is co-operating fully with gardaí. DAA, which runs Dublin Airport, also said it is assisting the GNIB with inquiries.  

- With reporting by Michelle Hennessy.

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