Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, Seán Crowe TD, has sent his best wishes to the crew of the LÉ Roisín who have departed for a 3 month humanitarian mission in the Mediterranean.

Deputy Crowe said:

“I welcome that the Government decided to send a fourth naval vessel on these lifesaving missions in the Mediterranean.

“Last year the crew of three Irish Naval vessels, the LÉ Eithne, the LÉ Niamh and the LÉ Samuel Beckett, rescued 8,592 people from serious and life threating situations in seas around the Mediterranean.

“The International Organization for Migration estimates that from 1 January to 25 April of this year 181,476 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea, arriving in Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Spain. During this short couple of months it is estimated 1,232 desperate people have died while attempting theses dangerous sea crossings.

“It is vitally important that Ireland’s plays its own part in responding to this refugee and humanitarian crisis by increasing the amount of refugees that can be relocated here and by sending naval vessels on these search and rescue missions.

“I wish the sixty strong crew of the LÉ Róisín the very best in this difficult and demanding mission.

“I have also informed Minister Coveney that I am extremely concerned about the increased militarisation of these missions. Reports from the G5 summit last week indicate that American warships may now join European Union vessels off the coast of Libya by this summer in a Nato-led attempt to somehow, by militarily means, stop refugees.

“Irish military vessels must play no part in using military force to push refugees back to the failed state of Libya.

“I am calling on the Irish Government to use its voice to clearly oppose the deployment of military vessels against rubber dinghies overflowing with children and those families seeking sanctuary and a new life in Europe.”