Irish immigrant support group Nasc has raised concerns about possible ethnic profiling after reports of a doubling in the number of Muslims refused entry at an Irish airport.
Nasc says it is extremely concerned that, in the absence of a specific threat, increasing numbers of Muslims have been refused leave to enter Cork Airport.
Nasc director Fiona Finn was reacting to the release by the Gardaí of figures at a Joint Policing Committee meeting in Cork on Monday which showed that 40 people who had arrived at Cork Airport on foreign flights were refused entry in the past two months. The figure compares to about 12 each month in the previous year.
Senior gardaí said the people were refused entry because of concerns about the validity of their passports and other paperwork.
However, Ms Finn described the surge in figures as “alarming”.
“We would have concerns that, in the absence of a specific threat, it would appear that people are being stopped because they are Muslims,” she said.
These people could be fleeing persecution in Muslim countries and could be arriving in Ireland to seek protection, she said.
“We would be concerned that there could be a cohort of people here to claim asylum, and who are entitled to claim asylum here, but who are being turned away.”
She pointed to the Geneva Convention, which provides for people seeking asylum arriving in countries without proper paperwork.
Chief Superintendent Michael Finn said gardaí were not monitoring any specific threat from Muslim extremists in the Cork region in the wake of recent terrorist attacks, and he stressed that they are liaising with the Muslim community in Cork, who are also concerned about possible infiltration by extremists.
Despite Nasc’s concerns, the prominent Cork Muslim Society welcomed the heightened airport security.