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Dublin: 4 °C Friday 28 February, 2020

We're sending the LÉ Eithne to help tackle the migrant crisis

Preparations for the mission are currently taking place at Haulbowline in Cork.

Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

NAVAL VESSEL THE LÉ Eithne is being sent to the Mediterranean to help tackle the ongoing migrant crisis.

Defence Minister Simon Coveney made the announcement this morning. It’s expected the ship will depart Irish waters later this week.

The Taoiseach confirmed last month that a naval vessel would be sent. Coveney confirmed this morning the mission had been cleared legally – and that the Government was now liaising with Malta and Italy to organise the deployment.

The Eithne was selected as it’s the largest vessel in the Irish Naval Service, with the largest deck space, the Minister said on Morning Ireland.

“If we can get what we need to do done, the vessel can be ready to go on Friday,” he said.

Preparations for the mission are currently taking place at Haulbowline in Cork.

More than 3,500 people were picked up trying to reach Europe last Saturday alone, as the Italian Coast Guard and other vessels continued to respond to distress calls in the Mediterranean.

Although it wasn’t a record – the number saved was one of the highest ever recorded in a single day, and raised fears that the tide of desperate people trying to reach Europe has not been slowed by recent disasters.

More than 1,750 migrants have died crossing the Mediterranean this year — 30 times more than during the same period in 2014.

Read: Taoiseach: ‘The equivalent of three jumbo jets were lost in the Mediterranean’

Read: “To send them back is another way of killing them”

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