Update: Fourteen men found in a container on a ferry bound for Rosslare are claiming asylum in Ireland.
They were part of a group of 16 Kurdish males who were discovered yesterday in the back of a truck on a ferry coming from Cherbourg in France.
Two of the asylum seekers are children, who are being cared for by Tusla.
The men have applied for International Protection status, and will likely be placed in direct provision.
The 16 people found in a trailer on a ferry bound for Rosslare included two juveniles, Labour party leader Brendan Howlin has said.
They have now been taken into the care of the HSE while the 14 adults have been transferred to a reception centre.
There is a working assumption that the people are Kurds, but it is uncertain if they are Iraqi or Iranian Kurds, Mr Howlin told RTÉ radio’s Today with Séan O’Rourke show.
The Wexford TD called for tighter scrutiny on all fronts and said there is a need to ensure that proper checks are carried out in ports and that they are “more thorough and vigorous.”
He added that yesterday’s incident brought back memories of the tragedy in Drinagh, Co. Wexford, in 2001 when the bodies of eight people, including four children, were found in a trailer.
The possibility of a tragedy remains and could happen at any time, he said.
On the same programme John Martin, policy manager for Northern Ireland with the UK Road Haulage Association said that the discovery of the 16 on board the ferry highlighted the need for greater checks at ports.
It also reinforced the concern that the Republic and Northern Ireland could become a backdoor into the UK, he said. It was unfair that at present the onus is on operators and drivers to thwart illegal immigrants. Many had to purchase expensive high tech security measures.
Kevin Hyland, the United Kingdom’s first Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner called for intervention to happen “way back upstream”.
It is believed the 16 men found in the back of a lorry on board a Cherbourg to Rosslare ferry yesterday are Kurdish.
They have spent the night in a reception centre in Dublin.
They spent up to 12 hours in the trailer of an articulated tractor unit before being discovered at Rosslare port yesterday afternoon.
They had travelled on a Stena ferry from Cherbourg before staff at the port found them.
Superintendent Jim Doyle said all 16 are in excellent health.
Mr Doyle said: "I understand at this time that all the males are adult and Middle-Eastern, however gardaí have yet to confirm if one male is a juvenile.
"That particular lorry, tractor and trailer are owned by a local Irish-based company, the owners are cooperating fully with the investigation.
"The driver is a male, believed to be in his 50s, he is also a long-time employee of the company and he is also assisting us with our inquiries."
Pippa Woolnough, from the Immigrant Council of Ireland, said the incident shows how desperate people are to flee their homeland.
Ms Woolnough said: "It is very upsetting to hear that people are feeling that their only option is to put their lives in danger to travel either away from danger or persecution or they have been forced or coerced into this situation.
"So I am very glad to hear the Taoiseach saying that he is taking a humanitarian approach first."