Naval Service to begin humanitarian mission to Mediterranean on Sunday

The crew of the LÉ Róisín will carry out search and rescue operations during their deployment

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LE Roisin. Image: Defence Forces

The Irish Navy is to begin another humanitarian mission to the Mediterranean over the weekend.

The LÉ Róisín is to carry out search and rescue operations in conjunction with the Italian authorities.

A 57-person crew will take part in the mission.

This is the first Irish Naval deployment to the Mediterranean this year - last year they helped rescue more than 8,500 people, many fleeing violence in Syria.

Lieutenant-commander Caoimhin Mac Unfraidh says the ship will depart from the naval base in Haulbowline in Cork on Sunday.

"The Naval Service deployed the LÉ Eithne early last year, and followed that with the LÉ Niamh and then the LÉ Samuel Beckett," he explained.

Acting Defence Minister Simon Conveney said, “the humanitarian crisis arising in the Mediterranean as a result of the Migrant crisis continues to be of great concern to Ireland and to our EU partners.

“I believe that we should continue to support Italy in a practical manner as far as possible and the Italian authorities have indicated that ongoing support is welcome," he added. 

The Government expects that the Naval Service will be deployed in the Mediterranean until mid-July, and further Irish navy vessels may be sent later in the year.