JUSTICE MINISTER Helen McEntee has said it is fortunate there were no fatalities after 14 people were discovered in a refrigerated lorry that arrived by ferry at Rosslare Port.
Gardaí said nine men, three women and two children were discovered when the vehicle was searched upon arrival in Co. Wexford at 3am on Monday.
According to RTÉ News, the group’s presence on the ferry from Zeebrugge in Belgium became known after one of those in the container made a distress call to British police.
It adds that the group — believed to comprise 10 Kurdish nationals, three Vietnamese and one person from Turkey — broke a hole in the container to access oxygen.
Gardaí said those present were assessed by medical personnel upon arrival and that an investigation is underway.
‘Extremely hazardous undertaking’
In a statement, Ms McEntee said it was ‘fortuitous’ that gardaí were not dealing with fatalities.
“I was extremely concerned to learn of the discovery of 14 people, including two children, in a refrigerated lorry at Rosslare Port on Monday and I would like to thank the emergency services for their initial response,” she said.
“Thankfully, I understand that all the people are in good health.
“We know from past experience that similar situations have led to tragic fatalities.
“This was an extremely hazardous undertaking and it is only fortuitous that the same did not happen yesterday.
“An Garda Síochána are investigating the matter with assistance from international partners.
“I would appeal to anybody with any information that might assist with the ongoing investigation to contact An Garda Síochána.”