Figures released to Independent TD Carol Nolan show that 279 illegal immigrants have been discovered in transport vehicles at Irish harbours since 2018. Deputy Nolan says that the numbers “should be a cause of profound concerns, particularly as our immigration system is not in the habit of turning anyone away who arrives and applies for international protection.”
The Garda National Immigration Bureau confirmed to the TD that 52 of these people were detected in 2018; 100 in 2019; 10 in 2020; 76 in 2021; and 41 so far this year.
The means by which the illegal immigrants are entering the country suggests, according to the Deputy, that “potentially vulnerable people are being trafficked” into the state for financial or sexual exploitation.
Deputy Nolan stated that she had, last March, raised the issue of vulnerable people being trafficked into the state with Minister Helen McEntee. According to Nolan she reached out to the Minister after the Cross-Party Oireachtas Life and Dignity Group, which is co-chaired by Deputy Nolan and Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick, held a briefing event on human trafficking in Ireland. Deputy Nolan said that that the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) informed the event about the emerging trend of the trafficking of pregnant women into Ireland for the purpose of forced adoption.
Despite the matter being brought to the direct attention of the Minister for Justice the Garda National Immigration Bureau has seen decreasing staff levels, with only 108 Gardaí assigned to the Bureau as of March 2022. Deputy Nolan described staff levels at the Bureau as “astonishingly low,” and noted that this failure to properly staff the Bureau was happening at a time when “the numbers arriving, by the Governments own admission, are through the roof.”
Deputy Nolan says that she was “engaging further with the Minister and the Garda National Immigration Bureau to see how precisely we can improve this situation for the years ahead.”