Rhun ap Iorwerth responds to “heart-wrenching” news regarding lorry container deaths

The tragic news of 39 bodies being found in a lorry container in Essex this morning is heart-wrenching and raises a number of questions regarding security checks on the Dublin-Holyhead crossing according to Rhun ap Iorwerth AM.

Plaid Cymru’s Assembly Member for Ynys Môn will raise this mater in the National Assembly this afternoon after the container was found in the early hours of this morning in Grays, Essex, having crossed into the UK from Dublin via Holyhead Port on Saturday.

The vehicle, believed to have travelled from Bulgaria, was found shortly before 01:40 BST at Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays and the lorry driver, a 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland, has been arrested on suspicion of murder. Police have appealed for witnesses and anyone with information about the lorry’s route to contact them.

Ahead of his question to Welsh Government in the Assembly, Mr ap Iorwerth said:

“This news is heart-wrenching. That 39 people felt they had to put their lives in danger like this, and that the 39 have lost their lives in a terrible way. My sympathies are with them and their families. It doesn’t matter how far from home one loses their life, the grief is the same.

“It raises a number of questions, some of which I will be putting to Welsh Government this afternoon. How is it that this lorry was able to pass through Holyhead undetected in this way? And why did those on board or others associated with this tragedy decide that Dublin-Holyhead was to be the chosen crossing?

“I and others like the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales Police Arfon Jones have long raised concerns about a lack of anti-terror police at Holyhead. In so many ways Holyhead is being overlooked as a port, I fear.

“Whilst Dover is firmly on the agenda as the UK’s busiest roll-on-roll-off ferry port, Holyhead seems ignored, as the second busiest, with about 400,000 lorries passing though annually. This is not acceptable either in the context of Brexit and trade, or now in the context of immigration and this tragic loss of human life.

“I’ll be asking Welsh Government to join me in inviting Home Office Ministers to Holyhead to see for themselves why this port needs real investment and the prioritisation it deserves as Wales’ busiest – and the UK’s second busiest ferry port.”