|Failing to honour refugee commitments||06 Jan 2016|
|Irish Navy decision needed amid new mass drownings||05 Jan 2016|
Letter to Irish Times
The shocking death tolls outlined on your front page (Deaths of 34 migrants a stark reminder of deepening crisis, Irish Times 6th January) missed one vital statistic which is that the EU has only resettled 0.17% of the refugees which in September it committed to offering safety and hope.
Figures confirm that in the four months since just 272 refugees have been moved from frontline states to those who are supposed to be offering solidarity to men, women and children fleeing war and terror.
As your editorial of the same date points out Europe’s current stance can be more accurately summed up as ‘More borders, more guards’ rather than the humanitarian response demanded by people across Ireland just a few months ago.
Despite any domestic uncertainty caused by a General Election it is time for Ireland to speak up at a European level and act on a national level in response to this crisis.
At the Immigrant Council of Ireland we believe a decision should be taken to recommit a naval vessel to search and rescue in the Mediterranean in 2016, the process of honouring our own refugee commitments must be advanced and the Government must outline what integration plans are in place to offer those coming here to restart their lives.
2015 will be forever remembered for the horrific scenes on the doorstep of Europe – only by acting and showing leadership now can we ensure that 2016 will not go down the same tragic route.
Immigrant Council of Ireland,
2 St Andrew St,
2015 death toll confirmed at 3,771 lives
“Ministers must commit Ireland’s continued involvement in search and rescue as men, women and children risk everything to flee terror”
Statement by the Immigrant Council of Ireland
Reports of new mass drownings in the Mediterranean and figures showing 3,771 men, women and children died in the past year have highlighted the urgent need for Ireland to recommit to the search and rescue operation on the high seas, according to the Immigrant Council of Ireland.
The Council is calling on Ministers to commit to redeploying the navy before the numbers making the crossing swell when the weather improves.
The call comes as the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) confirmed that the past year has been the deadliest on the high seas with 3,771 lives lost – an increase from 3,2279 in 2014. (See Note To Editors).
Brian Killoran, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland added:
“Search and rescue to save men, women and children in immediate danger must remain the first plank of the European response to the refugee crisis, and Ireland has a continuing role to play.
The Central Med – where the Irish vessels the LÉ Eithne, LÉ Niamh and LÉ Samuel Beckett patrolled – remains the deadliest stretch of water in the world and there is little reason to believe that the need will not be as great again in 2016.
The reports of the drownings of men, women and children trying to reach Greece in the past 24-hours have highlighted that people and families are so desperate they are not waiting for the arrival of spring – so the need is urgent.
The Immigrant Council of Ireland is calling on the Government not to wait until the terrible events of last April, when 800 people died in a single capsize, are repeated and to make the decision to redeploy as a matter of urgency – allowing the Navy to make preparations to have a ship in place within weeks.”