Migrant rescue mission in Mediterranean

 

Sir, – The Irish Refugee and Migrant Coalition, comprising more than 20 NGOs working in Ireland and worldwide, are gravely concerned about reports that the Irish Naval Service presence in the Mediterranean will cease and Operation Sophia will be downscaled (“EU ends migrant rescue mission in Mediterranean”, News, March 27th).

While the number of people trying to cross the Mediterranean has decreased, the risk of death while crossing has increased. We have commended the Irish naval presence in the Mediterranean, which has rescued more than 18,000 people, and also Ireland’s acceptance of 58 people from different NGO rescue boats. We now call on the Government to try to work with other EU governments with a view to maintaining the presence of the Irish navy and to maintain but improve Operation Sophia. Moreover, we need a complete overhaul of the EU approach to this issue: real solidarity with countries like Greece and Italy, safe and legal routes to protection, planned contingency for rescue boats and ceasing push-back to Libya. This is an opportunity for Ireland to lead on these issues. – Yours, etc,

NICK HENDERSON,

Convenor,

Irish Refugee

and Migrant Coalition,

Chief Executive Officer,

Irish Refugee Council,

Dublin 1.