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50 people without visas detected coming from UK last week

In the past week 50 people were detected entering the State without the proper visas or documents during garda immigration checks along the border.

The checks were carried out over four days since last Monday, 20 May.

Gardaí said that people found to have entered Ireland illegally and who were refused “leave to land”, were returned to the United Kingdom.

These returns were by ferry from Dublin Port to Holyhead, or to Belfast, depending on individual circumstances.

Gardaí said that these 50 detections are in addition to 107 people detected entering the State without the required visas or identity documents from the last quarter of 2023 up to 20 May this year.

They said that 11 days of action were carried out in the last quarter of 2023. A further 10 days of action took place up to 20 May, with four further days taking place in the past week since Monday.

Immigration checks are regularly carried out on the border to detect breaches of immigration legislation and to detect abuses of the Common Travel Area.

They are led by the Garda National Immigration Bureau, assisted by roads policing units.

Checks are also conducted in Dundalk on the Belfast to Dublin train line, as it is the first entry point to the State from Northern Ireland.

Gardaí said that checks can be spontaneous or pre-planned.

Gardaí also said that immigration officers work closely with personnel operating buses and trains in the area, and that a human rights based approach is adopted in relation to every individual stopped.

All garda members have completed training in a code of ethics and decision-making models and gardaí said that all checks carried out are “lawful, objective and respectful”.

‘Operation Sonnet’ aims to tackle abuse of the Common Travel Area, with a particular focus on the movement of people between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Gardaí said that the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) has “significant operational co-operation with the UK Border Force, UK policing services and the PSNI.”

A Cross Border Joint Action Task Force (JATF), incorporating both policing jurisdictions, also works together to monitor and detect illegal immigration, as well as other cross border criminality.

Intelligence led operations also allow for background checks on an individual locally, nationally or in other jurisdictions, “in order to ascertain the character of that individual or identify any risks posed”, gardaí said.

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