Thursday 29 September 2016

Mediterranean migrant crisis reminiscent of Irish 'coffin ships' - Taoiseach

Published 21/04/2015 | 16:06

A migrant, trying to reach Greece, is rescued by a man at the coast of the southeastern island of Rhodes April 20, 2015. REUTERS/Argiris Mantikos/Eurokinissi
A migrant, trying to reach Greece, is rescued by a man at the coast of the southeastern island of Rhodes April 20, 2015. REUTERS/Argiris Mantikos/Eurokinissi
The wreckage of a boat used by migrants is seen in Catania's Harbour, Italy, Monday, April 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
A migrant (C), trying to reach Greece, is carried by a Greek Coast guard officer at the coast of the southeastern island of Rhodes April 20, 2015. REUTERS/Argiris Mantikos/Eurokinissi
An Italian coastguard officer salutes as Armed Forces of Malta personnel in protective clothing carry the body of a dead immigrant off the ship Bruno Gregoretti in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
Italian coastguard and Armed Forces of Malta personnel in protective clothing carry the body of a dead immigrant off the ship Bruno Gregoretti in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
Surviving immigrants lie on the deck of Italian coastguard ship Bruno Gregoretti in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
Surviving immigrants lie on the deck of Italian coastguard ship Bruno Gregoretti in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
Surviving immigrants lie on the deck of Italian coastguard ship Bruno Gregoretti in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
Italian coastguard personnel in protective clothing stand near the bodies of dead immigrants on their ship Bruno Gregoretti in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
Italian coastguard personnel in protective clothing carry the body of a dead immigrant on their ship Bruno Gregoretti in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
Italian coastguard personnel in protective clothing carry the body of a dead immigrant off their ship Bruno Gregoretti in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
Italian Coast Guard officers disembark the body of a dead migrant off the ship Bruno Gregoretti, in Valletta's Grand Harbour (AP Photo/Lino Azzopardi)
Armed Forces of Malta personnel in protective clothing carry the body of a dead immigrant off Italian coastguard ship Bruno Gregoretti as surviving migrants watch in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
Armed Forces of Malta personnel in protective clothing carry the body of a dead immigrant off the Italian coastguard ship Bruno Gregoretti as surviving migrants watch in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
Migrants wait to disembark in the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo, Italy (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
The Italian coastguard ship 'Bruno Gregoretti', carrying dead immigrants on board, arrives in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand, Harbour REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
The Italian coastguard ship 'Bruno Gregoretti', carrying dead immigrants on board, arrives in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand, Harbour REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
The Italian coastguard ship 'Bruno Gregoretti', carrying dead immigrants on board, arrives in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand, HarbourREUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
Italian coastguard personnel in protective clothing stand on the deck of their ship 'Bruno Gregoretti', carrying dead immigrants on board, as it arrives in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand, Harbour REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
Italian coastguard personnel in protective clothing stand on the deck of their ship 'Bruno Gregoretti', carrying dead immigrants on board, as it arrives in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand, Harbour REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
Migrants wait to disembark in the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo, Italy (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
A rescuer cradles a child in the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo, Italy, early Monday (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Migrants wait to disembark in the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo, Italy (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Migrants wait to disembark in the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo, Italy (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
The Italian coastguard ship 'Bruno Gregoretti', carrying dead immigrants on board, arrives in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand, HarbourREUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
A woman carries a child as she disembarks in the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo, Italy (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
A rescuer, right, cradles a child in the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo, Italy (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Children are carried by rescue workers as migrants arrive via boat at the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo April 19, 2015. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
A child (C) is carried into bus as migrants arrive via boat at the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo April 20, 2015. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
Migrants arrive on a boat at the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo April 20, 2015. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
Italian police (R) photograph a child after migrants arrived via boat at the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo April 19, 2015. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
A child is carried by a rescue worker (R) as migrants arrive on a boat at the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo April 19, 2015. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
Children are carried by rescue workers as they arrive with migrants on the boat at the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo April 19, 2015. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
A child is carried by a rescue worker (R) as he arrives with migrants on the boat at the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo April 19, 2015. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
Migrants arrive on the boat at the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo April 19, 2015. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
A child looks on as he arrives with migrants on a boat at the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo April 19, 2015. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
Migrants arrive on the boat at the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo April 19, 2015. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
Rescuers help children to disembark in the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo, Italy (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
A migrant is helped disembark in the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo, Italy, early Monday, April 20, 2015. About 100 migrants, including 28 children, were rescued on Sunday by a merchant vessel in the Sicilian Strait while they were trying to cross. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
An Italian Police officer stands next to mug shots of alleged migrant traffickers shown during a press conference, in Palermo, Sicily, Italy, Monday, April 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandro Fucarini)
A man rescues an migrant from the Aegean sea, in the eastern island of Rhodes, Monday, April 20, 2015. Greek authorities said that at least three people have died, including a child, after a wooden boat carrying tens of migrants ran aground off the island of Rhodes. (Argiris Mantikos/Eurokinissi via AP)
Armed Forces of Malta personnel in protective clothing carry the body of a dead immigrant off the Italian coastguard ship Bruno Gregoretti as surviving migrants watch in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour April 20, 2015. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
People stand next to the recovered body of a migrant, who tried to reach Greece, at the coast of the southeastern island of Rhodes April 20, 2015. REUTERS/Argiris Mantikos/Eurokinissi
ALTERNATIVE CROP -- Italian Coast Guard officers disembark the body of a dead migrant off the ship Bruno Gregoretti, in Valletta's Grand Harbour, Monday, April 20 2015. (AP Photo/Lino Azzopardi)
Survivors of the smuggler's boat that overturned off the coasts of Libya lie on the deck of the Italian Coast Guard ship Bruno Gregoretti, in Valletta's Grand Harbour, Monday, April 20 2015. (AP Photo/Lino Azzopardi)
Survivors of a smuggler's boat that overturned off the coasts of Libya lie on the deck of the Italian Coast Guard ship Bruno Gregoretti, in Valletta's Grand Harbour, Monday, April 20 2015. (AP Photo/Lino Azzopardi)
Medical personnel walk a survivor of the smuggler's boat that overturned off the coasts of Libya, on the deck of the Italian Coast Guard ship Bruno Gregoretti, in Valletta's Grand Harbour, Monday, April 20 2015. (AP Photo/Lino Azzopardi)
Survivors of the smuggler's boat that overturned off the coasts of Libya lie on the deck of the Italian Coast Guard ship Bruno Gregoretti, in Valletta's Grand Harbour, Monday, April 20 2015. (AP Photo/Lino Azzopardi)
A man carries the recovered body of a dead migrant child at the coast of the southeastern island of Rhodes April 20, 2015. REUTERS/Argiris Mantikos/Eurokinissi
Italian Coast Guard officers disembark the body of a dead migrant off the ship Bruno Gregoretti, in Valletta's Grand Harbour, Monday, April 20 2015. (AP Photo/Lino Azzopardi)
Surviving immigrants lie on the deck of the Italian coastguard ship Bruno Gregoretti in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour, April 20, 2015. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
Armed Forces of Malta personnel in protective clothing carry the body of a dead immigrant off Italian coastguard ship Bruno Gregoretti as surviving migrants watch in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour, April 20, 2015. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
Armed Forces of Malta personnel in protective clothing carry the body of a dead immigrant off Italian coastguard ship Bruno Gregoretti as surviving migrants watch in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour, April 20, 2015. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
Armed Forces of Malta personnel in protective clothing carry the body of a dead immigrant into a vehicle after disembarking from the Italian coastguard ship Bruno Gregoretti in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour, April 20, 2015. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
Armed Forces of Malta personnel in protective clothing carry the body of a dead immigrant into a hearse after disembarking from Italian coastguard ship Bruno Gregoretti in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour April 20, 2015. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
Armed Forces of Malta personnel in protective clothing carry the body of a dead immigrant off the Italian coastguard ship Bruno Gregoretti as surviving migrants watch in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour April 20, 2015. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
Armed Forces of Malta personnel in protective clothing carry the body of a dead immigrant off the Italian coastguard ship Bruno Gregoretti as surviving migrants watch in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour April 20, 2015. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
Armed Forces of Malta personnel in protective clothing carry the body of a dead immigrant off Italian coastguard ship Bruno Gregoretti as surviving migrants watch in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour, April 20, 2015. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
Surviving immigrants lie on the deck of Italian coastguard ship Bruno Gregoretti in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour April 20, 2015. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
Surviving immigrants lie on the deck of the Italian coastguard ship Bruno Gregoretti in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour April 20, 2015. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
Italian Coast Guard officers disembark the body of a dead migrant off the ship Bruno Gregoretti, in Valletta's Grand Harbour, Monday, April 20 2015. (AP Photo/Lino Azzopardi)
Rescuers help children to disembark in the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo, Italy, early Monday, April 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Migrants wait to disembark in the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo, Italy, early Monday, April 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Migrants wait to disembark in the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo, Italy, early Monday, April 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
A rescuer cradles a child in the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo, Italy, early Monday, April 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said an emergency EU leaders' summit can only begin to resolve the "appalling disaster" of migrants being drowned in the Mediterranean.

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Mr Kenny said the numbers drowned last weekend off Malta and Italy were reminiscent of the scale of losses on Irish "coffin ships" in the wake of the famine.

Replying to Dail questions from Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams, he said one million people had already fled Syria in fear of their lives and were marooned in Lebanon and Jordan without a proper humanitarian plan to help them.

He added that the problem was compounded by the lack of borders in Africa with tens of thousands fleeing cruelty and oppression and their ruthless exploitation on ships "without captain, steward or compass".

"The scale of this problem is unprecedented in terms of numbers," Mr Kenny said.

Mr Kenny said Ireland will play its part relative to its resources and take more refugees from the stricken areas.

The Taoiseach said the EU countries were now committed to implementing a 10-point plan agreed by foreign and justice ministers in Luxembourg yesterday.

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