Number of people arriving in Ireland without documents down by a third – McEntee

Number Of People Arriving In Ireland Without Documents Down By A Third – Mcentee
The Minister for Justice referenced the figure as she revealed plans to increase fines for airlines who carry undocumented passengers. Photo: PA
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By Cate McCurry, PA

The number of people arriving into Ireland without identification documents has reduced by a third in the last year, according to the Justice Minister.

Helen McEntee referenced the figure as she revealed plans to increase fines for airlines who carried undocumented passengers.


Airlines could be fined up to €5,000 if they were found carrying a passenger travelling to Ireland without valid and correct travel documents. This is an increase on the €3,000 that has been in place.

Bank holiday getaway
Airlines could be fined up to 5,000 euro if they were found carrying a passenger travelling to Ireland without valid and correct travel documents (Dominic McGrath/PA)

Ms McEntee said she hoped to have the legislation enacted before the Dáil recess so that it was in place for the summer.


Speaking in Trim, Co Meath, Ms McEntee said that airlines had been fined almost €1.5 million last year for carrying passengers without documents.

She said that the number of passengers travelling without identification or with false documents had fallen by more than a third in the last year.



“All of the measures that we have taken, what we know is that there has been a reduction by over a third now,” she said.

“It was a third last year, that (reduced) figure has increased this year of the number of people coming without documentation or false documentation.

“So everything from the airline fines – there was close to 1.5 million in fines applied last year – there were doorstop operations, to liaison officers, the additional gardaí.


“All of that has had an impact because we can see from the number of people coming through the airport.”



Ms McEntee said she took the decision to bring the proposal to Cabinet following a review carried out earlier this year.

The €5,000 fines would be applied per passenger found without documents.

“This is restating the obligation that is on airlines already, and re-emphasising the obligation they have to make sure that any person who comes into this country, on a plane, have the correct documentation, they have legal and valid documentation, that they are not impersonating another person, that they have the right visa,” the Fine Gael minister added.

“It’s really important that we enforce our laws and no matter who you are, or where you are coming from, you have the correct documentation when you come into this country.


“This is … one of a number of measures to try and address irregular migration.

“We have been working with the airlines to train their staff. It’s really important that staff can actually spot and identify if there has been a false document, that they can identify the person perhaps is going to discard their documentation.

“This is about preventing irregular migration, it’s about ensuring the laws are enforced.

“Nobody gets on to an airline without documentation but what we found is that people often use false documents or that they try to discard them once they arrive here. It is a crime. There have been a number of cases recently and people have received custodial sentences.”

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