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Mac Lochlainn commends crew of LÉ Eithne

9 June, 2015 - by Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Sinn Féin Defence Spokesperson and TD Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has commended the crew of the LÉ Eithne for all their work in saving migrants in distress in the Mediterranean Sea. He raised the issue with the Minister for Defence in a Parliamentary Question in the Dáil today.

The LÉ Eithne is working on a search and rescue mission in cooperation with the Italian navy and has so far rescued over 1,000 people.

Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:

“Sinn Féin’s hugely appreciates the work of LÉ Eithne and its crew. They are an absolute credit to Ireland.

“This also puts into perspective the huge need for continued search and rescue missions in the Mediterranean. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, some 90,000 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean this year. Almost 2,000 have drowned or been lost at sea.

“It is important that Ireland plays its part, and doesn’t ignore this huge humanitarian crisis. This should be focused on savings migrants’ lives and not military offensive strikes.

“I would have huge concerns of the EUNAVFOR Mission and fear that it will only make the situation more dangerous and volatile for people fleeing war, poverty, hunger, and oppression.

“The Irish Government must not play any part in militarily forcing vulnerable refugees back to Libya and other areas of conflict, and Ireland should oppose the EU’s move in this direction.

“While it is welcome that the LÉ Eithne is saving lives, we can’t expect Italy, Greece, and Malta to take care of all these migrants. This is a European issue that needs a European wide response.

“There needs to be an EU focus on increasing our collective support and help to southern European countries who are on the frontline, and one of those initiatives must be to increase our refugee quota.

“Ireland can play its part on the frontline, but we also need to do more at home.” 

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