Nine of 16 migrants found in truck on ferry to Rosslare now missing

Strongly suspected they left their accommodation with a view to going to UK

By Conor Lally of The Irish Times

Nine of the 16 migrants found in the back of a truck trailer on a ferry sailing to Ireland midweek are now unaccounted for.

Nine of the adult males in the group had left their accommodation by Friday night and their whereabouts were unknown this weekend.

The group were found in the back of a trailer being towed by an Irish-owned lorry on the Cherbourg-Rosslare sailing that departed France on Wednesday night and arrived in Co Wexford on Thursday afternoon.

The group were heard moving around in the trailer by Stena staff about five hours from Rosslare and when the trailer was opened with the driver’s help the group was found inside and taken out.

Garda sources told The Irish Times the 15 men and one minor believed the trailer they got into in France, likely close to Cherbourg, was being towed by a truck destined for Britain, not Ireland.

The same sources said as Britain was their intended destination it was now strongly suspected the nine men unaccounted for had left their accommodation with a view to going to the UK.

That could involve stowing away on a second ferry from the Republic or the North bound for Britain or they may seek to travel into the North in a bid to claim asylum there.

While gardaí believed two of the 16-strong group were minors, they are now satisfied the group was made up of one minor and 15 adults. All are believed to be Kurds, from Iraq and Iran.

The 15 male adults applied for international protection in Ireland and were taken to a reception centre in Dublin while the juvenile was in the care of Tusla.

No offence

Garda sources said while it was feared the missing men were effectively attempting to flee to the UK, they were committing no offence by leaving the centre they were taken to.

When migrants apply for international protection, or asylum, they are offered accommodation, including meals, in centres around the country or they are housed in emergency accommodation, including B&Bs and hotels.

However, people applying for international protection can also stay with family or friends in Ireland. There is no obligation on them to stay in accommodation provided by the State.

“These guys who are missing can even continue to go through the process of applying for international protection in Ireland; turning up for appointments and so on,” said one security source.

However, while sources said the men had not done anything that derailed their applications under the international protection process in Ireland or broken any laws, they believe they did not intend to remain in the Irish system and instead were hoping to get to the UK.

Garda headquarters declined to make any substantive comment on the matter, saying only that the migrants were applicants in the Irish system.

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