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Adams slams Government response to Mediterranean tragedy

21 April, 2015 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams has expressed disappointment at Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s response today to questions about the Government’s response to the deaths of refugees in Mediterranean.

 Following questions from Mr Adams in the Dáil today, the Taoiseach refused to outline any proposals that he would bring to Thursday’s EU meeting to discuss the crisis.

 Speaking afterwards, Deputy Adams said:

 “I am disappointed that the Taoiseach failed to outline any proposals to present to his EU counterparts in relation to the deaths and suffering occurring in the Mediterranean.

 “I made the point to the Taoiseach that what is happening is a direct result of the interference of western powers in the Middle East and North Africa. These refugees are fleeing conflicts in Syria, Libya, Somalia, Nigeria and elsewhere. They are also fleeing famine and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa.

 “Like the Irish through the centuries, they are persecuted, injured, hungry and looking for a better life. Their horrors are a direct result of Europe’s colonial record and the much more recent policies of the West towards the Middle East and North Africa.

 “The Taoiseach said today that the Government endorses the EU’s 10-point plan but this an entirely inadequate response to this humanitarian disaster. Doubling funds to the EU border patrol mission will not provide the search-and-rescue operations needed in the face of this crisis.

“It is reported that the EU will seek to stop refugees at sea without any consideration of what happens to them thereafter. So, will refugees be detained in camps in Libya and Egypt, which face difficulties of their own? Will they be forced to return to their own States only to try again at another time and on another boat?

 “The proposal to resettle 5,000 immigrants in EU states is a drop in the ocean when set against the hundreds of thousands who are desperate to travel. ‘Return travel packages’ allowing immigrants to return to the war, poverty or famine they are seeking to escape from is not realistic. Is this Ryanair?”

 Mr Adams said the resettlement of 1,200 people in 14 years – like the treatment of people in Direct Provision Centres - is not something the government or its Fianna Fáil predecessors should be proud of.

 He continued:

“As a nation which suffered conflict, famine, forced emigration, fever camps, death and coffin ships, Ireland needs to adopt a more compassionate approach to the coffin ships of the Mediterranean. The Taoiseach must push at Thursday’s meeting for a strategy to provide substantial aid and investment for the countries affected.” 

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