Vietnamese boat people on a grim journey to Ireland 36 years ago

Great escape: ‘We didn’t come here for economic reasons in 1979, we came for freedom’

Tri Quoc Nguyen arrived to Ireland from Vietnam in 1979. He was one of 400 'Boat people' fleeing the communist regime that was offered refuge in Ireland. Video: Enda O'Dowd

Over bowls of pho at his family’s Vietnamese restaurant in Dublin, Tri Quoc Nguyen is talking about the year that took him from a flimsy boat in the South China Sea to a refugee camp in Malaysia and, eventually, to Tralee.

The restaurant is Pho Viet on Parnell Street, and his wife Tuyet “Snow” Thi Ngoc Pham is the chef. Their daughter Kim (21), the eldest of five, is busy working behind the bar.

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