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Irish Defence Forces via Flickr

Irish Naval Service crew to be given medals for assistance with migrant crisis

The Irish Naval Service has rescued over 11,500 migrants to date.

MEMBERS OF THE Irish Defence Force who have been assisting authorities dealing with the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean are to receive a medal for humanitarian work.

Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe, travelled to Cagliari in Sardinia today and met with naval service personnel crewing the LÉ James Joyce.

Kehoe told them the government was grateful “for the outstanding role you have played in saving the lives of men, women and children, who are fleeing desperate circumstances”.

The deployment of this ship and other Irish Naval vessels, is an important element in Ireland’s response to the migration crisis in the Mediterranean. It highlights the Irish government’s ongoing commitment to assist with efforts to prevent further tragedy and loss of life at sea. The rescue of over 11,500 migrants, to date, by Irish Naval Service vessels demonstrates clearly the value of Ireland’s participation in this important humanitarian response.

Irish Defence Forces Irish Defence Forces

During the visit the minister  also announced that he looked forward presenting those who participated in the operation with a new medal known as the Defence Forces International Operational Service Medal.

The medal will be awarded for the service of personnel deployed on humanitarian missions. Kehoe said “that those who serve the State in these important humanitarian missions will receive a recognition which is deserving of the contribution which they have made.”

He also highlighted the voluntary nature of the mission for the personnel deployed and thanked the families and partners for the sacrifices they are making, saying: “They are often the unsung heroes of such missions.”

Read: “The picture did not change much” – father of drowned migrant toddler Aylan Kurdi speaks out>

Read: Newborn twins among 3,000 rescued from rubber boats at sea>

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