LÉ Éithne set to return to Ireland at end of the month
Vessel will be replaced in Mediterranean by another Irish naval vessel, the LE Niamh
The Irish Navy ship Le Eithne arrives at the Taranto harbor with rescued migrants on board on June 8th. Photograph: APAP Photo/Gaetano Lo Porto
The LE Eithne will return to Ireland at the end of this month and will be replaced in the Mediterranean by another Irish naval vessel, the LE Niamh.
The 68-strong crew of the LE Eithne have been rescuing migrants since joining the European effort to assist refugees in May.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan confirmed that Ireland would continue to be involved in search-and-rescue operations.
“LE Eithne continues to make a vitally important contribution towards the saving of lives in the search-and-rescue mandate that it has,” he told The Irish Times.
Since the start of the year almost 150,000 migrants and refugees have embarked upon the treacherous journey across the Mediterranean on unseaworthy and overcrowded vessels and boats.
“I believe it’s important that the EU continues to prioritise this issue.”
Mr Flanagan said an unfair burden had been placed on countries in the region such as Italy and Malta.
“I believe it’s important that the EU strengthens its approach to what is a humanitarian crisis of huge dimensions,” he added.