The Minister for Justice has said it is important that security is tightened at all ports in Ireland in light of yesterday's discovery of 16 people in a container on board a ferry bound for Rosslare.

Charlie Flanagan said he is to meet with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to see how "best to ensure that this type of incident is dealt with in accordance with the law".

Fourteen adult males and two juvenile males were discovered in a container on board a Cherbourg to Rosslare ferry yesterday morning.

They are believed to be of Kurdish origin from Iran and Iraq.

The men have claimed asylum in Ireland and are being processed under immigration legislation by gardaí and members of the National Immigration Bureau.

The two juveniles are in the care of Tusla.

Minister Flanagan said his department is working with European colleagues, and he hopes to ensure that there is "sufficient security to combat the scourge of human trafficking".

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He said he is "concerned that Ireland is a focus of attention as something of a back door to the UK" and he stressed the importance of north- south cooperation.

He said he hoped gardaí and the PSNI will work in a "seamless way to ensure we don't have a border situation that is seen as easy access".

Gardaí said that an Irish-based company owns the articulated lorry in which the men were found.

They have also said that the driver has been a resident of Ireland for more than 25 years.

The driver and the owner of the truck are fully co-operating with the garda investigation.

Fianna Fáil's justice spokesperson Jim O'Callaghan called for greater resourcing of Rosslare Europort to step up security and protect against migrant smuggling, as the port is Ireland's main entry point for ships coming from France.

Mr O'Callaghan said that people need to be protected from traffickers and smugglers, and it is "purely fortuitous" that the 16 people survived the crossing from France to Rosslare yesterday aboard a trailer.

He said that ahead of Brexit, the Government needs to recognise that links between France and the UK are very heavily policed, and Ireland is now being seen as an easier route for smuggling into the UK.

He said Ireland needs to have greater co-operation with its European partners on issues of security and human trafficking.

Mr O'Callaghan also said that hauliers need to step up checks and security to ensure trucks are locked.

A local councillor in Wexford said the men were quite shocked "by the traumatic situation they had found themselves in".

On RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Independent Wexford Councillor Ger Carthy said he understood the men were Kurdish or Iraqi migrants who were fleeing war and persecution.

He said they were believed to have travelled for 20 days to get to Cherbourg, where they entered a trailer bound for Rosslare.

Mr Carthy, who is also a paramedic and who attended the scene, said the men were checked over and cared for by medical staff and gardaí when they got to Rosslare, and were "in quite good spirits and good health".