The government needs to take a more active role in screening people who arrive in Ireland, according to a Tipperary Senator.
Senator Garett Ahearn says there has been a threefold increase of people coming to Ireland in the last 12 months: 53,000 Ukrainians and 20,000 International Protective Applicants, with approximately 40 percent arriving without any documentation.
He says this is causing people who are genuinely seeking refuge to be mixed in with people who are arriving with falsified or no documentation.
Senator Ahearn says responsibility lies with the airport from which people are flying into Ireland.
“Normally, people who are fleeing without documentation are fleeing within the European Union. Someone could be travelling from Greece or Turkey to Dublin, and while they’re in an airport in Turkey or Greece and are made to present their documentation, there’s no role Ireland can play in that.
“If someone presents a fake passport, the authorities in that country should be able to detect it, and the airline, obviously, has a role in that too. It’s only once they land in the country and come off the plane that we can then have input. It’s been recognised. as well, from government that we need to play a bigger role there too. People are coming with fake documents; how are they getting past to get on the plane in the first place?”
There should be a legal obligation at airports to search the suitcases of people without documentation seeking refuge in Ireland, according to the Fine Gael Senator, who says this would be key in differentiating people abusing the system from genuine asylum seekers.
He claims that because luggage and body searches are routine at airports, implementing this procedure on arrivals who claim to have lost their documentation should not be a problem.
Senator Ahearn says Ireland should mimic the process carried out on arrivals to Australia.
“There have been so many people that have come from Ukraine that didn’t have documentation because their houses have been bombed. We can’t be blind to the fact that there are clearly people who are abusing the system, but we can’t change the fact that there are genuine people who lose documentation when they’re in a war.
“When they come into the country and they say they have no documentation whatsoever, we should be legally obliged to search their suitcase. This is done in other countries. You see it in Australia, if you don’t have your documentation, you can’t actually get out of the airport. We need to have rules that someway align with Australia. There has to be a difference between someone who has documentation and someone who doesn’t have documentation.”