LE Niamh bravery commended but new Direct Provision Centres wholly inadequate for refugee crisis – Adams
Uachtaráin Shinn Féin, Gerry Adams TD, has paid tribute to the crew of the LÉ Niamh who were the first on the scene after a makeshift boat packed with refugees tragically capsized in the Mediterranean. Mr Adams has also criticised the news that more Direct Provision centres will be opened.
Deputy Adams said.
“Around 600 refugees were packed onto this makeshift boat which tragically capsized and sank off the coast of Libya and authorities have said that 400 have been rescued and 25 bodies have been recovered, but the death and missing toll is still not exactly clear.
“The LÉ Niamh was the first rescue boat on the scene and reports are that the crew saved 367 people. They are a credit to the Naval Service and a credit to our country.
“So far in 2015 more than 2,000 people have already died while trying to cross the Mediterranean in order to seek refuge, and 3,279 died last year. This is a huge humanitarian and refugee crisis that Europe has to adequately tackle.
“This whole humanitarian disaster is an indictment of the international community and the European Union. These people are leaving their countries because of turmoil – a lot of that turmoil was created by interventions by Western powers so we need to see the European Union and our Government doing more.
“I’m also distressed at the news that more Direct Provision centres will be opened here. I’ve been in these centres. There’s one of them in my constituency – they are like internment centres. These folks are being interned. And children are being reared in them. People have been in them for twelve, fourteen years.
“It’s good that we’re taking in some of the refugees and asylum seekers, but to do what? – to stick them in a hostel or some centre which the government itself said is unacceptable because of the human rights violations. The recent report from the Petitions Committee , headed by Padraig Mac Lochlainn has said, and the Minister himself has said that these Direct Provision centres are not fit for purpose. We need to be treating refuges with the dignity they deserve.
“The entire situation is devastating – coffin ships have not been consigned to history. We as a people only one hundred years ago went through the very same thing in terms of the deaths of our folks across the Atlantic. We should be using all of our strength as a small island nation, with our history to prevent what is happening and to ensure that the EU and the international community take immediate and effective humanitarian action.”