Saturday 1 October 2016

Irish Naval Service vessels to be redeployed to Mediterranean for six months in bid to save refugees' lives

Published 06/04/2016 | 14:37

An Irish Naval Service in Cobh harbour
An Irish Naval Service in Cobh harbour

IRISH Naval Service vessels are to be redeployed to the Mediterranean for six months in a bid to save the lives of refugees attempting the dangerous sea-crossing after fleeing poverty and war.

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The LÉ Róisín is being prepared for the first deployment with two other ships also being sent in rotation.

Last year the crews of three Naval Service ship saved the lives of more than 8,000 migrants trying to get to Europe from North Africa in make-shift boats.

The Cabinet today approved a proposal from Defence Minister Simon Coveney for the renewed mission which is a bilateral humanitarian search and rescue operation in conjunction with the Italian authorities.

The LÉ Róisin, with a crew of around 60 Defence Forces personnel will be despatched to the Mediterranean within the next month.

"The humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean continues to be of great concern to Ireland and to our EU partners," Mr Coveney said.

"I am anxious that we would resume support to Italy in the search and rescue activities in the Mediterranean,” he added.

“The despatch of an Irish naval vessel represents a tangible and valuable Irish national contribution to assisting with the continuing migration crisis in the Mediterranean.”

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