independent

Thursday 22 August 2019

A tragedy waiting...

TEN YEARS AFTER DRINAGH DEATHS, ROSSLARE'S HUMAN TRAFFIC PROBLEM CONTINUES AS STOWAWAYS FOUND IN WRETCHED STATE

MARIA PEPPER

ALMOST A decade after the shocking deaths of eight people including four children in a furniture container delivered to Drinagh Business Park, the tragedy of human trafficking through Rosslare Harbour is continuing.

The problem was starkly highlighted again last week when three young Afghan men were found in a dehydrated and distressed state after spending four days in the back of a truck which sailed into Rosslare from Cherbourg.

The truck driver, who had travelled from Italy across Europe to deliver goods to the flooring and furniture store of Tom Doyle Supplies in Camolin, got the shock of his life when he opened the back of the vehicle and discovered the three men.

The stowaways, in their late teens and early twenties, had no idea where they were or even what country they were in. They are understood to have worked their way to Greece and then up to Italy where they boarded the truck bound for Rosslare Harbour. After being given food and water in Gorey Garda Station, they spent the night in New Ross Garda Station before being handed over to the Immigration Unit in Rosslare for repatriation to Cherbourg.

The discovery of the three young Afghani men, rekindled memories of the nightmare that unfolded on December 8, 2001 when another lorry driver opened a container of office furniture at Drinagh Business Park.

The consignment from Italy had been ordered for the new Wexford company PFPC which was just about to open.

Eight Turkish people, including four children were found suffocated inside the sealed container, in one of the worst human tragedies that Wexford has ever witnessed. Another five occupants miraculously survived the ordeal following treatment in Wexford General Hospital.

There was public outrage at the deaths with calls for tougher international laws to ensure that a tragedy like this would never happen again.

But the problem is continuing, according to Wexford Garda Chief Superintendent John Roche who said the Garda Immigration Unit at Rosslare Harbour are returning illegal immigrants on a regular basis.

Many come from North Africa and are found hidden in containers arriving from Cherbourg and Roscoff in France.

The issue is an ongoing one despite the best efforts of the gardai, customs service and ferry companies who carry out checks and constantly liaise with their counterparts in France, he said.

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