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Minister for Defence, Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D.,
Deployment of a Naval Vessel to Assist in the Humanitarian Crisis in the Mediterranean

The Minister for Defence, Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D., today echoed the Taoiseach’s sentiments in relation to the deployment of an Irish Naval Service vessel to assist in the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean. The Taoiseach stated yesterday at the Extraordinary European Council meeting to discuss the migration crisis that Ireland is prepared to allocate a fully crewed Naval vessel once the legal clarifications are received.

The Minister has been in discussions with the Taoiseach over recent days in relation to possible action which could be undertaken by Ireland to assist with the humanitarian crisis. In commenting on the Taoiseach's announcement, the Minister stated "I can confirm that the Defence Forces have the capacity to respond to the crisis with the provision of a naval vessel. The Naval Service has long experience of assisting the Coast Guard and in supporting the coordination of search and rescue missions off the coast of Ireland. This experience will be of huge benefit in undertaking a similar role in the Mediterranean”.

Agreeing with the Taoiseach, the Minister stated that he was appalled at the continuing loss of life of people making their way to Europe and that the crisis needed not alone a coordinated EU response but also a response from the international community as a whole. In relation to the deployment of the Naval Vessel, the Minister noted that there are a range of legal and operational issues to be addressed before the vessel can be deployed operationally. The Minister went on to say that “All efforts are being directed at deploying a Naval vessel at the earliest opportunity subject to the legal and other modalities been finalised. My Department and the Defence Forces have already commenced operational and logistics planning for the deployment and my officials are coordinating the cross-Government issues and modalities. The objective is to ensure we can bring the matter to the Government for final approval as soon as possible.”


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