Brexit Express: a growing trend of migrants fleeing the UK towards Dublin


"Brexit Express": A Growing Trend of Migrants Fleeing the UK towards Dublin, Concept art for illustrative purpose, tags: brexit - Monok

The Belfast-to-Dublin coach route, once a routine commuting journey, has been rechristened as the Brexit Express owing to the escalating number of asylum seekers utilizing it to escape the UK and find refuge in Ireland.  According to Dublin Express drivers, roughly eight asylum seekers comprise the typical passenger count on this 2.5-hour-long trip southwards.

The Dublin Express operates 17 daily services between Belfast and Dublin. Over the course of 125 days, with 2,125 total trips completed, it’s estimated that the buses could carry approximately 17,000 refugees, assuming an average of eight passengers per trip.

This trend commenced approximately six months ago, coinciding with the UK’s Safety of Rwanda bill, which guarantees processing refugee claims in Africa and is likely to continue unabated.

A driver for Dublin Express spoke out about the problem involving the growing number of humanitarian migrants using fake tickets to ride on their buses.

“They’re often travelling using a photograph of a ticket that has clearly been bought by someone else. We can tell because they’re all using the same name, but it’s hard to stop because we don’t scan the tickets,” he explained.

Due to the growing concern over the number of asylum applicants in Ireland, the government has pledged to send back those arriving from the UK by the close of this month. However, Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris acknowledges that deported asylum seekers might simply re-enter Ireland, making border control an ongoing challenge.

Louisa Santoro, who leads the Dublin-based homeless charity Mendicity Institution, emphasized the intricate factors propelling the trend, with refugees now comprising 90% of the charity’s clientele. She stated that asylum seekers are driven by word of mouth and the belief that Ireland’s geographical position would give them protection.

Why are they moving to Ireland? It’s not for the weather and the wonderful services. Largely, they rely on word of mouth.

Louisa Santoro

However, despite its geography, the implementation of the Common Travel Area, following the Good Friday Agreement, makes matters more complicated.

“What we are reaping is years of bad policies and lack of planning,” Santoro commented.

Dublin realities

Arriving in Dublin isn’t akin to entering paradise. For many, it’s a stark reality check as they navigate the uncertainties of seeking asylum in a foreign land. Take the case of Nigerian farmer Akeem (51 years old), who made his way to Dublin from Belfast’s Europa Bus Centre on a coach.

In an open and candid conversation, Akeem recounted his early struggles in Ireland following his arrival via the so-called Brexit Express. He acknowledged that the experience of living rough and enduring harsh conditions was a daunting challenge, particularly when faced with racist taunts.

“It was really hard sleeping in a tent, and racist people would shout, ‘Go home’ at us,” he narrated.

Still, despite the adversities he encountered upon his arrival in Ireland, Akeem remained convinced that the care and support extended to him were superior to those he would have experienced in the UK and far better than the life he had in his home country. He mentioned that some individuals have ventured as far as Canada, driven by the apprehension of facing deportation to Rwanda.

“We won’t have the life we want in Rwanda. Also, we won’t have access to the same medical facilities in an African country and that’s one of the big advantages of coming to the Western world,” he added.

As the influx of humanitarian immigrants utilizing the Brexit Express coach route continues to escalate, Irish authorities are compelled to address this issue through thoughtful policy changes that strike a delicate balance between extending compassionate humanitarian assistance and implementing robust border control measures.

Leave a Comment