Kurdish refugees found hiding in Wexford lorry seek asylum

Next Government must ‘end delay in offering shelter to people fleeing for their lives’

Afghan migrants receive food from volunteers in a square outside Victoria metro station in central Athens.  Photograph: Simela Pantzartzi/EPA

Afghan migrants receive food from volunteers in a square outside Victoria metro station in central Athens. Photograph: Simela Pantzartzi/EPA

 

Eight of the nine refugees discovered in a lorry in Co Wexford on Saturday have sought asylum in Ireland and are being processed by Garda immigration officers.

The nine men, who are understood to be Kurdish, were found in a lorry which was stopped and searched on the Waterford to New Ross road on Saturday afternoon. Eight of the men are reportedly in “a safe place” while awaiting transfer to a direct provision centre.

The lorry had recently arrived on a ferry from Cherbourg to Rosslare.

The ninth man in the lorry has been detained for immigration offences at New Ross Garda Station, according to a Garda spokesman.

A number of the refugees were taken to University Hospital Waterford after they were found in the container but were later released and are reportedly fit and well.

The discovery of the men in Waterford is the “direct result of the EU’s failure to honour commitments on resettlement and funding” in response to the refugee crisis, said the Immigrant Council of Ireland. The Council called on the State to provide the men with “every possible support” including medical aid, access to swift immigration procedures and legal representation.

Chief executive of the Immigrant Council Brian Killoran said the discovery of the men in a container in the Republic was unusual but not unprecedented. He said it highlighted the failure of EU governments, including the Irish Government, to help and support those fleeing war and conflict.

“The first priority now is to ensure that those found are treated with humanity,” said Mr Killoran. “Any request they make to restart their lives in Ireland must be swiftly processed through fair and transparent immigration procedures.”

“The next Government must immediately honour the promises already made by restarting the lifesaving operation by the navy on the high seas, end the unacceptable delay in Ireland offering shelter to men, women and children fleeing for their lives and implement policies to ensure proper integration of those arriving here.”