Seven passengers on Ethiopian Airlines’ inaugural flight through Dublin last week claimed asylum at the airport’s immigration gates.

Five adults and two children have claimed asylum, a Garda spokeswoman confirmed yesterday.

“We are working with Ethiopian Airlines to ensure proper processes are in place for people coming into the country,” she said.

The Irish Independent reports that the new service from Addis Ababa stops in Dublin en route to Los Angeles. 

The passengers disembarked and claimed asylum at Dublin Airport’s immigration gates, where they arrived without ID or travel documentation.

An Ethiopian Airlines spokeswoman said that all passengers on the flight had full legal documents when they boarded in Addis Ababa but said that the airline does not comment on individual cases.

“Ethiopian Airlines has been operating  for over 40 years in Europe and Dublin is its 11th City.

“We only carry passengers with full legal documents and appropriate visas. We also carry out extra checks when in doubt and take guidance from appropriate immigration teams of the destination country we operate to, if needed,” she said.

A spokeswoman for the DAA said that an event to mark the airline’s maiden flight through Dublin had been taking place at the Departures gate.

“It’s literally tea, coffee and juice and we do this every new airline or flight to welcome the new route.

“Separately, downstairs, apparently passengers had declared asylum, but that’s a matter for the GNIB (Garda National Immigration Bureau),” she added.

A Justice Department spokesman said "it is a regular occurrence that claims for asylum be made by persons arriving at Dublin airport."

"In 2014, 221 persons claimed asylum at ports of entry having been refused leave to land.

"However, this must be seen in the context of overall numbers of persons refused leave to land and returned to where they came from.

"In 2014, almost 2400 persons were refused entry to the State and returned to the place from where they came," he said.