Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has commended the efforts of the crew of Irish naval vessel LÉ Eithne for saving the lives of thousands of migrants in the Mediterranean.
Ms Anderson said;
“Every week hundreds of migrants from north Africa and the Middle East attempt to make the dangerous crossing across the Mediterranean in the hope of finding a better life in Europe.
“In order to escape conflict, poverty and persecution they take huge personal risks and are often exploited at the hands of unscrupulous people smugglers and pirates.
“Tragically, many die in the process. Others are saved in rescue operations and brought to ‘reception centres’ like those I saw when I visited the Sicilian island of Lampedusa as part of a European Parliament delegation.
“Among those taking part in those rescue operations is the Irish naval vessel the LÉ Eithne, which has rescued more than 2,000 people from the sea.
“On Monday the crew of the LÉ Eithne rescued a further 519 migrants from the sea.
“I pay tribute to the crew of the LÉ Eithne for their dedication and professionalism in saving thousands of lives since being deployed to the Mediterranean in May.
“The scale of their life-saving efforts highlights the need for further humanitarian efforts in the Mediterranean to save lives and put an end to the Mediterranean migrant crisis.”