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Debates
Wednesday, 17 July 2019 - Strasbourg Provisional edition

Humanitarian assistance in the Mediterranean (debate)
MPphoto
 

  Billy Kelleher (Renew). – Mr President, at the outset I just want to say that the European Union has an obligation to do an awful lot more than it is presently doing. We cannot have a situation where the burden falls on a few states to deal with the particular humanitarian crisis that is unfolding in the Mediterranean. So there’s a moral imperative on us to ensure that we have sensible immigration policies but, in the meantime, the people who are clinging to boats in the Mediterranean cannot be allowed to wait. We have to ensure that we have a new search and rescue mission immediately in the Mediterranean.

The Irish navy was previously involved in Operation Sophia, where it rescued thousands of people. I now call on the Commission, along with the Member States which have naval support, to ensure that we have a proper search and rescue mission put in place immediately to address the unfolding humanitarian crisis.

The long-term issue of immigration can be addressed as well but we have this moral imperative immediately. I have been disappointed that the Irish Government has not funded the Irish navy to the point where we now have two naval ships tied up in dry dock because of a lack of personnel. They should be in the Mediterranean Sea, along with other naval boats from other countries, addressing this humanitarian crisis. Urgently act.

 
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