On January 8, two young girls, aged six and four, together with 12 adults, were found alive in a refrigerated trailer on a truck at Rosslare Europort, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
According to a report from InfoMigrants, the discovery happened around 3 am when the truck was stopped as it was leaving the ferry from Zeebrugge, Belgium.
The Irish police said that a Kurdish woman inside the container made a distress call before the ship reached the port. The call was received by the UK coast guard, who then informed the Irish authorities.
Ireland’s Transport Minister, Eamon Ryan, said he was relieved that the migrants were safe. Authorities said they had possibly spent 24 hours shut inside the container at -4 degrees, and they had been struggling to breathe and had to cut a hole in the side of the container.
All 14 people were reported to be in good health despite the difficult situation, with the former president of the Irish Road Haulage Association, Eugene Drennan, considering that it was fortunate that an awful situation with fatalities had been avoided by chance.
The majority of the migrants, including the two girls, were Kurds from Iran and Iraq.
Drennan said that it was obvious the incident was the work of an experienced smuggling group.
The truck was fully sealed… it had to be some people who knew how to manipulate the locks and seals. The migrants may have believed they were headed for England.
Irish President Michael D. Higgins emphasised the need to understand why people end up being at risk of being smuggled.
We really have not put enough work into listening to the stories of people … who are that desperate. If we are to understand migration, we must look at the last straw effects that make people borrow money and turn to human traffickers.
The 14 migrants have been taken to residential accommodation for asylum seekers (IPAS). Recently, it was confirmed that the migrants rescued from a shipping container in Rosslare would not be pursued by the Department of Integration.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said that the migrants could decide to seek asylum in this country or leave voluntarily.