A court in Mayo has heard how a dramatic increase in the number of suspected marriages of convenience prompted an investigation by the Garda National Immigration Bureau.
Giving evidence before Castlebar District Court today, Detective Brendan Ó’Somacháin said there had been a huge increase in the number of marriage notifications involving EU and non-EU nationals in recent years.
He said the purpose of these unions was to obtain EU Treaty rights based on marriage to a citizen of the European Union.
There were 3,200 such notifications in 2014 and 7,000 last year.
Detective Ó’Somacháin said a tightening of restrictions in the UK had contributed to the increase here. He said many people were travelling by ferry from Britain to Northern Ireland and then crossing the border into the Republic.
He told the court that many of the arranged marriages involved people originally from the Indian subcontinent. The number of Pakistani nationals getting married here rose from 91 in 2013 to 973 in the first eight months of 2015.