Snubbed Plano Backpackers to Give Ireland Another Go

Three North Texans who said they were denied entry into Dublin, Ireland, can pack their bags for another try.

Anthony Kelly, marketing manager for the hotel group, said Wednesday the trio will get a massive Irish welcome this time around.

The hotel group, which has three Dublin hotels, is offering to pay for their flights as well as hotel rooms, food and drinks for a week and give them $1,000 to spend in Dublin, The Dallas Morning News reported. The Plano men are expected to formally accept the offer during a live telephone interview with a Dublin radio station Thursday.

Colin Zwirko, 21, Gavin Sides, 19, and Ben Whitehurst, 21, said they were told when they landed in Dublin on Friday that they couldn't enter the country because they didn't have an address where they planned to stay and bank statements to prove they could afford to travel.

Zwirko said he and his friends were planning a backpacking trek across Western Europe. Instead, they had to return to the United States and have been staying with relatives in New Jersey.

Irish officials in the U.S. apologized on Monday, and Ireland's national police began an investigation Tuesday into why they were turned away.

"People are embarrassed -- very embarrassed to be honest," said Pat Phelan of Cork, Ireland. "We are welcomed in the USA with open arms, and this is a serious issue."

Zwirko knows one thing they'll do differently this time.

"Obviously, we are going to bring what they required of us the first time," he said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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