Irish Navy’s Refugee Rescue Mission
By R. Bryan Willits, Editorial Assistant
June / July 2016
LÉ Róisín, a first-of-class offshore patrol vessel set sail from Cork on Sunday May 1, on a three month rescue and recovery mission in the Mediterranean Sea. The mission’s objective is to rescue at-risk migrants who have fled from north African nations on rickety vessels in an attempt to reach the shores of Italy, Sicily, or Malta.
So far this year, over 700 migrants have been listed as missing or dead, but LÉ Róisín’s mission is not without hope. The crews of the Irish vessels LÉ Eithne, LÉ Niamh, and LÉ Samuel Beckett rescued over of 8,500 people during the course of their deployments on similar missions in 2015.
Brian Killoran, chief executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland, welcomed the decision by saying, “At a time of crisis it is important to also acknowledge the vital work our naval crews are carrying out with 8,500 people alive today as a direct result of their actions to date.”
Irish Defense Minister Simon Coveney also said, “The dispatch of an Irish naval vessel represents a tangible and valuable Irish national contribution to assisting with the continuing migration crisis in the Mediterranean.” ♦