Ireland rows in to help humanitarian crisis by sending navy vessel

The LE Eithne
The LE Eithne

Ireland is sending a navy vessel to help with the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean.

The LE Eithne will take part in a mission to prevent further migrant ship tragedies, a spokesman for the Defence Forces confirmed.

Thousands were rescued and 10 bodies recovered off the Libyan coast last weekend. At least 1,750 people have died this year trying to cross the sea separating Europe from North Africa.

A Defence Forces spokesman said: "The LE Eithne is going to the Mediterranean.

"The Minister of Defence Simon Coveney said it would be ready by Friday."

Last year 276,000 "irregular" migrants crossed the Mediterranean, it is believed.

The EU had been accused of being too slow to react to the growing humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean. Recently a fishing boat carrying people from Libya sank killing up to 800, in what the UN has called the deadliest incident in the Mediterranean ever recorded.

A spokesman for Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the decision to send the vessel had still to be formally approved by the Cabinet.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Defence said: "We can confirm that the ship is not yet gone to the Mediterranean. Arrangements to deploy the naval vessel are currently being finalised.

"The deployment is subject to Government approval and it is intended to bring to Government shortly for final approval."