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Dublin: 2°C Saturday 23 January 2021

Ireland will do more: 'Dead bodies of young children on the shores of Europe — we can't let that lie'

Minister Brendan Howlin has indicated that Ireland will take in more than its allocated 600 people.

THE LIFELESS BODY of a drowned young Syrian boy lying face down in the sand makes the front pages of many of the newspapers this morning.

The image, which many people will find disturbing below, has sparked an international outcry over the human cost of the crisis.

This morning, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin indicated that Ireland will take in more than its allocated quota of 600 people.

However, he said this still had to be discussed at European level.

Germany, France and Italy want a new distribution programme that will impose numbers that each country should take in – and Ireland will take part, he said.

Step up to the plate

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Howlin said

Looking across the pictures in today’s papers I am struck by what the Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy said, it really resonates with anybody linked to their conscious now. We can’t but feel challenged by what we’re witnessing. I think there is a requirement for Ireland to step up to the plate – but it’s not simply a European issue, it is a world issue.
Ireland will certainly measure up to whatever is asked of us.

When asked if Ireland would take more than 600 people, he said:

 I am sure we will.

Having spoken to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan, Howlin said they agree there must be a multi stranded approach.

Certainly we have to take people who are in absolute peril, who are destitute in dreadful circumstances.

Long-term solution needed

The minister said that taking in people is not a long-term solution. He said this is not just a European issue, but a worldwide issue and one of the most challenging issues for human kind.

Ireland will measure up to accepting its allocated share, there is no doubt about that.

He said the images of dead bodies of children was shocking, adding that these peoples’ lives have been utterly destroyed and all they want are prospects for their children.

The notion that we see the bodies of young children on the shores of Europe is just so shocking that we cant let that lie.

While some have debated whether the image of a dead child should be splashed on the front pages, many are urging people not to turn away, but to realise the horrifying reality of the situation.

The image below is distressing and may upset some readers. 

little-boy-2-630x345 Source: Sky News/DHA

The Minister for Agriculture, Food, the Marine and Defence, Simon Coveney yesterday tweeted his reaction to the photo.

The headline on the UK’s Independent newspaper read:

ind Source: Independent UK

Reacting to the minister’s tweet, many people urged the government to do more:

Minister Coveney is meeting with his EU colleagues today at the Informal Ministerial meeting in Luxembourg to discuss a range of issues including progress of the EU military mission in the Mediterranean.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is expected to discuss the migrant crisis with French President Francois Hollande as he begins a two day visit to France, in Paris.

Read: Passengers told to listen for ‘walking on roof’ as migrants cause Channel Tunnel chaos

Poll: Should every town in Ireland take in 10 refugee families? 

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