Ireland agrees to take in 25 migrants from boat stranded off Malta

The MV Lifeline has been turned away from several ports in the Mediterranean

Ireland has offered to take in up to 25 migrants on board a rescue ship that has been stranded off the coast of Malta for days.

The MV Lifeline has been turned away from several ports in the Mediterranean and is currently around 30km off the Maltese coast.

Italy’s new Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte had claimed the German vessel would be allowed to dock in Malta, although he did not specify when.

However, this evening the ship’s crew tweeted that they had “received a message from Malta at 6pm saying we are not allowed to enter territorial waters.”

Some 234 rescued people are on board.

It is hoped the Maltese Government will allow the boat to dock within the next 48 hours after a number of countries agreed to house them.

Ireland has now joined Portugal, Malta, France, Italy and Spain in offering to take in some of the people in.

Speaking from Luxembourg today, the Tánaiste Simon Coveney said he hopes the gesture will inspire other EU countries, who have not yet done so, to pitch in.

“Obviously there is a process to make sure that we vet people and so on,” he said.

“The Department of Justice is the key department there.

“But I have spoken to the Taoiseach on it and the Taoiseach has also spoken to Charlie Flanagan and we have decided to move early on this; to show, I hope, some generosity and leadership so that other countries can follow.”

It comes after EU leaders failed to reach agreement on how to tackle the migrant crisis at a special meeting last weekend.

16 heads of government attended the informal meeting to discuss where to send those rescued in the Mediterranean Sea.

The crisis was brought to the fore once again in recent weeks after the new Italian Government turned away a boat packed with 630 migrants picked up off the coast of Libya.

The MV Aquarius was eventually allowed to dock in Spain.