Truck owner, driver not treated as suspects in smuggling of 16 people into Ireland: report

Video PlayerClose DUBLIN, Nov.

23 (Xinhua) — The owner and the driver of a truck which was used to smuggle 16 people into Ireland earlier this week are not being treated by police as suspects in the case, local media reported on Saturday. The Irish Times, a daily English newspaper in Ireland, quoted unidentified police sources as saying that they suspect that the 16 men found Thursday in a sealed container on the the back of a truck on board a Stena Line ferry heading towards Ireland from France entered the truck without the knowledge of the owner and the driver of the truck.

The truck is owned by a local haulage company in southeast Ireland and the driver is a foreign national who has been living and working in Ireland for more than 20 years, said police. Police have interviewed the owner and the driver of the truck shortly after the incident was reported. They believe when the driver stopped the truck at some point of the journey to Cherbourg, a coastal city in northwest France where the ferry departed for Ireland, it was the most likely time for the 16 stowaways to climb on board the truck.

Police also suspected that the truck for smuggling these people was chosen by human traffickers at random and the traffickers could have been paid by the 16 men at some point of their journey. The 16 men believed that the truck was destined for Britain, said police. Police believed that the 16 men had been inside the container for about 15 hours before they were detected.

The discovery of the 16 men was made at about 9:20 a.m. on Thursday morning (Irish time) by a staff member of the ferry during a routine inspection after hearing the banging from inside the sealed container of the truck parked on the vehicle deck of the ferry. The ferry left Cherbourg at about 9:00 pm on Wednesday night. The 16 men found on the ferry include 14 adult males and two juveniles, said police, adding that they believed these men are Kurds from Iraq and Iran.

All the 14 male adults have claimed asylum shortly after they arrived at Rosslare Europort in southeast Ireland’s Wexford County on Thursday afternoon, according to police. The adults’ asylum claims will be processed by the Irish Naturalization and Immigration Service while the two juveniles have been taken into state care, said police. They will be placed in direct provision centres if they agree, said police.

Provision centres are places established by the Irish government in the late 1990s to provide accommodation for asylum seekers.

Currently there are at least 34 such centres across 17 counties in Ireland which accommodate thousands of people.

You may also like...