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Dublin: 4 °C Wednesday 23 January, 2019

Department of Foreign Affairs responds to Tripoli rescue criticism

A second attempt to rescue citizens from Tripoli will take place today.

People leaving Libya by boat from Benghazi
People leaving Libya by boat from Benghazi
Image: Rob Celliers/AP/Press Association Images via PA Images

THE DEPARTMENT OF Foreign Affairs has reacted to the criticism of its failed attempt to rescue Irish citizens from Tripoli on Wednesday.

An Irish Air Corps plane landed at Tripoli but was unable to board any passengers.

A spokesperson from the Department of Foreign Affairs told “We don’t have an embassy in Libya and it’s a very difficult situation without being on the inside.”

Fintan Coen, who flew into Dublin airport yesterday from the troubled African state of Libya, said he and his colleagues were “hung out to dry” by the department, in today’s Irish Daily Mirror.

He was among 21 people who managed to make it back to Ireland from Libya yesterday.

Coen said that the Department had been “refusing to send flights, saying it was too expensive, it wasn’t going to happen”.

Speaking to the Irish Daily Mirror, Secretary General David Cooney stated: “The notion that we are not helping citizens as we aren’t prepared to spend money is rubbish.”

A second attempt to rescue Irish people from Tripoli will take place today.

A number of Irish Air Corps planes have been deployed to Valletta in Malta to assist with the evacuation of Irish citizens from Libya.

The Irish ambassador to Rome, Patrick Hennessy, will oversee the evacuation.

According to the Department, there are 31 Irish citizens  in Tripoli, 12 in the country’s second city of Benghazi, and six others elsewhere.

Two Irish citizens boarded a boat leaving Benghazi last night, while those in the rest of the country are reported to be travelling to the two main cities, or evacuating via the land border with Egypt.

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