Irish naval vessel to join humanitarian mission to aid migrants crossing the Med
The Irish navy is set to take part in the humanitarian mission to aid migrants at risk from drowning in the Mediterranean as they flee from war-torn regions.
The Taoiseach said today that the government were planning to send a ship from the Irish fleet to aid in search-and-rescue in the wake of a succession of tragedies in which 1,700 people have died this year.
“Depending on the caveats and the legal requirements here in respect of search and rescue for humanitarian functions, we are prepared to allocate a fully-crewed and equipped naval vessel,” he said. At present the Irish Navy has eight ships in its fleet.
Mr Kenny was speaking as he arrived in Brussels to attend a crisis summit of EU leaders over the human trafficking tragedy in the Mediterranean. The summit was called after widespread outrage was sparked by the deaths of up to 950 migrants off the Libyan coast last weekend.
He described the multiple deaths as “a mounting humanitarian and political crisis, the equivalent of more than three jumbo jets being lost” and said that today the government have approved €1m donation through the Red Cross to Libya.
The leaders are expected to sign off on a series of measures to expand search-and-rescue operations and to strengthen measures to crack down on traffickers. “This is a case of protecting innocent people who are fleeing from areas of war and terror. Politics and political leadership is about creating solutions to these problems. People are entitled to live,” said the Taoiseach.
The EU summit comes in the wake of trenchant criticism from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon who said this week who said the thousands of deaths “should shock the global conscience. The Mediterranean is fast becoming a sea of misery for thousands of migrants”.