20 July 2016
By Bryan T. Smyth
The Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Mr. Paul Kehoe, T.D., today praised the Naval Service for their continued success in assisting with the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean. To date, the Naval Service has rescued more than 10,000 people since Irish Naval vessels were first deployed to the humanitarian operation in May 2015.
In the period May to November 2015, a total of 8,592 people were rescued in the Mediterranean by Irish Naval vessels. In 2016 L.É. Róisín, which was deployed to the Mediterranean on 1 May, rescued a total of 1,264 people.
L.É. James Joyce, which replaced L.É. Róisín, commenced operations in the Mediterranean on 16 July. Following the rescue of 162 people on 19 July 2016, L.É. James Joyce rescued a further 63 people today (Wednesday, 20 July). This brings the total number of migrants rescued by the Naval Service to date to 10,081.
Also, since Irish Naval vessels commenced operations in the Mediterranean in May 2015, they have provided assistance to a further 2,209 migrants, who were transferred from other vessels onto Irish Naval Service vessels and then transited to safety.
Minister Kehoe said “I wish to congratulate the Naval Service for the excellent role they have played in saving the lives of so many migrants since Naval Service vessels were first deployed in May 2015. The Government and I are very proud of your efforts.”
Minister Kehoe added “The deployment of Irish Naval vessels to the Mediterranean to engage in humanitarian search and rescue tasks is an important element in Ireland’s response to the migration crisis in the Mediterranean. The success of these operations demonstrates clearly the value of Ireland’s participation in this important work.”
Minister Kehoe went on to say “Unfortunately thousands of people continue to make the very dangerous journey across the Mediterranean. The requirement for humanitarian search and rescue operations in this part of the world remains and Ireland will continue to play its part.”