Displaying items by tag: Minister Defends
#MinisterDefends - Paul Kehoe Minister of State for Defence has said he was immensely proud of the Naval Service as the LE Eithne and its crew prepared to depart for the Mediterranean to assist in the rescue of refugees fleeing north Africa and the Middle East.
As the Irish Times writes Mr Kehoe believed Ireland should continue to assist Italy in a practical manner in as far as possible and the Italian authorities have welcomed this support which will see the patrol vessel LE Eithne under Cmdr Brian Fitzgerald return to the Mediterranean to assist with the rescues of migrants.
“As Minister with responsibility for defence, I feel immensely proud of the crew members that are going out to the Mediterranean this morning – over the last number of years, we have seen the immense difference that the Irish Naval Service have made in rescuing migrants,” he said.
The rescue operations began in May 2015 when the LE Eithne departed for the Mediterranean and rescued some 3,377 migrants, and since then Naval Service ships have rescued a further 12,071 to give a total of some 15,448 people the Naval Service has saved in Operation Pontus.
But Mr Kehoe would not be drawn on controversy that emerged last week at the trial in Sicily of three men accused of people trafficking when the Italian authorities criticised the LE Niamh for not venturing inside Libyan territorial waters in the course of a rescue operation in August 2015.
For much more click the newspaper's report here.