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Dublin: 15 °C Wednesday 20 March, 2019
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Irish team leads evacuation of 16 EU citizens from Libya

The Irish government jet is one of the last to leave Tripoli, after seeing the evacuation of 3 Irish and 13 other EU citizens.

A Gulfstream IV jet similar to that owned by the Irish government, used to organise a pan-EU evacuation from Tripoli today.
A Gulfstream IV jet similar to that owned by the Irish government, used to organise a pan-EU evacuation from Tripoli today.
Image: Wikimedia Commons

THE DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS says an Irish government jet has left Tripoli airport after carrying an Irish team to lead EU efforts at evacuating European Union nationals from troubled Libya.

In a statement released this evening, the Department confirmed that the government’s Gulfstream jet had landed at Tripoli carrying a joint EU consular team, including members of the Irish evacuation team, in mid-morning.

As teams from most other EU states had withdrawn their teams yesterday, the Department said, the Irish team took charge in the efforts to evacuate as many of the EU citizens from the airport as possible, using the plane as a base while leading EU nationals to whatever outgoing flights were available.

The team oversaw the safe evacuation of 16 EU nationals, the statement continued, which included three Irish citizens.

When any EU nationals present had been safely escorted to flights and took off, the team then evacuated and the plane left for Tripoli.

A Department spokesman confirmed that the plane, on returning to Malta, offered its spare seats to nationals from other countries who were seeking to leave Libya; the spokesman could not offer an estimate as to the number of people evacuated on the plane.

Separately, a number of Irish citizens were evacuated from the seaside city of Benghazi on a British naval vessel, which is also expected to reach Malta late tonight.

Six other Irish evacuees who left Benghazi two days ago arrived in Greece today, while a number of Irish who had been evacuated in the last few days also arrived back to Ireland this afternoon.

Both the evacuation team and the government jet remain on standby in Malta, with further evacuation attempts organised for tomorrow.

Irish embassies in Italy, Malta, Greece and Britain are all assisting any remaining citizens seeking evacuation from Libya; government sources said there were “a very small number” of Irish nationals still in the country.

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Gavan Reilly

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