Mediterranean migrant crisis reminiscent of Irish 'coffin ships' - Taoiseach
Published 21/04/2015 | 16:06
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.
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.