Immigration chiefs give marching orders to 54 'illegal' fans
By Tom Brady
Thursday February 07 2008
More than 50 Brazilians posing as soccer supporters for last night's friendly soccer tie with Ireland in Dublin were shown the red card by the immigration authorities.
Officers at Dublin airport refused permission to land to 49 'supporters' on Tuesday and a further five yesterday. The group had arrived in Dublin on flights from Madrid and Paris.
Members of the garda national immigration bureau rejected their claims that they were travelling to Dublin on a short holiday and denied them entry to the country.
Some were held overnight in garda stations while arrangements were being made with the airlines who flew them into Dublin to bring them back to either Spain or France, where they would then face the local immigration authorities.
An estimated 5,000 foreign nationals were denied entry to the country last year and at the top of the 'red card' table are Brazilians.
Immigration officials said last night that the Brazilians were either intending to seek work here or else using Ireland as a transit point for the United Kingdom.
“What happened over the past couple of days is not unusual when a big event with an international flavour is taking place in the country,” one immigration official pointed out.
“In the past we have stopped members of orchestras who intended to remain on in this country and were coming in with either false documentation or fake claims, as well as alleged sports participants, such as cyclists,” he added.
Brazilians are not required to have a visa to enter the country but must fill in an application form, and if immigration officers are not happy with their claims they can be denied.
It is estimated by officials that a huge number of Brazilians have managed to enter the State illegally and many have since moved on to Britain.
Evidence gathered by authorities throughout Europe indicates that sporting events are a popular 'cover' for illegals.
– Tom Brady Security Editor
Samba time at Croker