The Irish Naval Service will extend its involvement in humanitarian rescue missions in the Mediterranean, it was announced today.
A report presented to the Government by Minister for Defence Simon Coveney pledged to extend the Irish contribution to the EU's Triton search and rescue initiative.
Irish naval involvement in the operation began in May last, with the deployment of the LÉ Eithne, which was replaced by the LÉ Niamh in July.
LÉ Samuel Beckett
Under the new plans, the LÉ Samuel Beckett will take over operations in the Mediterranean from the end of September, when the LÉ Niamh was due to finish its mission, until November 30th.
Mr Coveney said: “The success of the operations carried out to date by LÉ Eithne and LÉ Niamh involving recovering over 6,000 migrants demonstrates clearly the value of Ireland’s participation in this important humanitarian response.”
Ahead of an informal meeting of EU defence ministers scheduled to take place in Luxembourg on Thursday, Mr Coveney said that "longer term solutions to address the migrant crisis are needed".