This article and its associated content/image have been amended to more accurately reflect the details of this report from our Chief Report Barry Whyte.
There appears to be an increasing number of asylum seekers who did not arrive through Dublin Airport, but paid to be smuggled into the country.
Figures from the Department of Justice show 75% of asylum seekers applied for protection at the International Protection Office in Dublin, compared to just 24% of applications made at Dublin Airport.
Newstalk reporter Barry Whyte told The Pat Kenny Show this means the majority of asylum seekers arrived in the country “without challenge”.
The Department of Justice said many of these applications could be from people who already resided in Ireland and their country of origin has since become unsafe to return to, such as Sudan.
However, Barry said many asylum seekers arrive through Northern Ireland before travelling across the border – with some paying for access.
'Some people pay €5,000'
A Moroccan asylum seeker who travelled from France told he paid a lorry driver €3,000 to bring him to Dublin.
“Some people pay €3,000, €4,000, €5,000 for travel,” he said.
He said he knows “many people” who paid lorry drivers to smuggle them to the Republic of Ireland.
A Somalian asylum seeker said he “paid everything he had to run away” and get access to Ireland via smugglers.
“We run away, and we come here for safety reasons,” he said. “I know there’s traffickers [but] what's the other option?”
“I paid everything I had worked for, for the last six years, just to get away – if you know your life is in danger, you have to move away.
He said a sheet was put over his head so he would not know where he is going.
“We’re not aware,” he said. “We just become a bunch of sheets.”
Asylum seekers in the UK
Immigration lawyer Cathal Malone said many asylum seekers sneak out of the UK to Ireland out of fear.
“There will be a certain number of people who just think that it is no longer safe for them to be in the UK,” he said.
“There are a number of people who might have already applied for asylum in the UK and might have a very good chance of getting asylum in the UK if the UK asylum system was functioning.
“But as we know the UK Home Secretary says that anybody who arrives on a boat will not have their asylum claim processed in the UK, they will be returned to Rwanda."
Under the Smuggling of Persons Act, an individual can be imprisoned for up to 10 years for knowingly smuggling someone into the country.
Garda Superintendent Derek Maguire said there is a difference between people being smuggled into the country and human trafficking.
“Generally, people who are smuggled into the country want to come here and they have maybe aspirations of a better life here,” he said.
“Human trafficking is that they may be coerced into coming here with ideas of a better life, but the definitive element is they're exploited.”