Gary Gannon TD

TDs urged to support Gary Gannon’s amendment to Government motion today

The proposed deployment of an Irish Naval Service vessel to the Mediterranean as part of an EU mission must prioritise providing assistance to persons in distress at sea, according to Social Democrats TD Gary Gannon.

Deputy Gannon, who is the party’s spokesperson on Defence, said:

“The Government is seeking the support of the Dáil in approving the participation of an Irish naval vessel in Operation Irini for seven weeks this summer. The core task of the mission is the implementation of the UN arms embargo on Libya to prevent weapons entering the country by sea.

“We know that there is an ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean, with desperate refugees attempting to reach the EU on flimsy and unsafe vessels. Tragically, thousands of men, women and children have died trying to make these perilous journeys.

“For that reason, I have added an amendment to the Government’s motion to clearly state that saving the lives of those in distress at sea is a central part of this mission.

“The Irish Naval Service has a proud tradition of taking part in previous EU humanitarian missions. If Ireland is to participate in Operation Irini, the preservation of life should be clearly outlined as being a priority.

“In addition, we need stronger assurances from the Government that the Irish Naval Service will have no role in training the Libyan Coastguard – which is another element of this mission – due to concerns over their links to militia and appalling track record of human rights abuses.

“I am urging TDs from all parties and groupings to support my amendment when the motion is voted on this evening.”

April 26, 2023

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