Ireland will take 'our share of refugees' fleeing Africa and the Middle East
Published 24/04/2015 | 18:06
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said Ireland will “take our share” of refugees who have fled the devastating conflicts across Africa and the Middle East.
Mr Kenny said Ireland is committed to playing a role in tackling the migration crisis but that he is favour of a voluntary refugee programme. The Taoiseach said no figures have been agreed in terms of additional refugee numbers following a meeting of EU leaders this week.
Speaking in Government Buildings following a meeting with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, Mr Kenny said thousands of migrants are being left in scenarios where they are “doomed”. He said they are being shoved on boats that “cannot reach the shores of Greece” and other EU countries.
The Fine Gael leader said the number of people who drowned in the Mediterranean last week could fill “three jumbo jets”. An Irish naval vessel is due to be dispatched in the coming days as the EU prepares to launch a major crackdown on smugglers and traffickers.
Mr Valls said EU leaders are determined to ensure “no more people die at sea” but that it is important the illegal flow of immigrants is reduced.
Separately, Mr Valls praised Ireland over the country’s “remarkable economic performance” which saw the economy come through “very difficult times.”
He said France and Ireland have developed a “closeness and friendship” in recent years and that the French Government is drawing inspiration from actions taken by their Irish counterparts.
Earlier, Mr Valls visited the Long Room in Trinity College where he viewed a collection of letters from Samuel Beckett.