Court orders Indians to be further detained


A group of 25 Indian nationals were involved in a conspiracy to enter Ireland illegally, it was claimed at Limerick District Court last night.

State solicitor Mr Michael Murray was making an application for the detention in custody of the group in Limerick prison for a further 10 days while their applications for refugee status were being processed.

After a four-hour hearing, Judge Tom O'Donnell granted the State's application for a further detention period until July 5th.

The application is the first of its kind to be made under the Refugee Act 1996. Mr Murray said: "If the conspiracy to break into the country by this group is successful or even partially successful then there could be further copycat attempts made. The manner in which they entered the country is regarded as very disturbing by the immigration authorities."

He said decisions on their applications for refugee status are scheduled to be made by the first week in August.

Det Insp John O'Driscoll, of the Garda National Immigration Bureau, said all but one of the applicants were from the Punjab region of India. Their visas were valid for Cuba, not Ireland.

All the tickets were issued by the same travel agent in New Delhi and paid for by cheque.

Insp O'Driscoll added: "We have discovered that another Indian national had arrived in Ireland prior to the arrival of the 25. While here, he stayed in a hotel in the Limerick area and inquiries were made about grouping groups of people from 10 to 20 in a number of B&Bs in the Shannon region."

The court heard that the man who stayed in the hotel had made contact with a person in Copenhagen.

Inquiries revealed this person is known to the Danish authorities as being involved in the trafficking of human beings, Insp O'Driscoll said.