Fine Gael MEPs have faced further criticism for voting against a European Parliament resolution on rescue operations in the Mediterranean.
The party's MEP Seán Kelly has defended the party's position, insisting the resolution in question "needed more work".
The vote yesterday was on a motion calling for European Commission to financially and politically support enhanced search and rescue operations.
It was in response to the continued deaths of people attempting to cross to Europe, with more than 900 estimated to have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean Sea so far this year.
Yesterday's vote in Strasbourg was defeated by only two votes, with the four Fine Gael MEPs among those who voted against it.
Green Party MEP Ciaran Cuffe today expressed his disappointment with the result.
He said: "Every vote was crucial, and for those of us who voted for the resolution it was bitterly disappointing to see it voted down... and particularly to see the four Fine Gael MEPs vote against the resolution.
"My view and the Green view... is we need to provide the search and rescue service in the Mediterranean.
"But we also need to put huge effort into these countries from where asylum seekers are coming - to make the institutions of the state work; to allow those countries to develop; and to prevent or deter people from considering making this journey in the first place."
Mr Cuffe's party colleague Grace O'Sullivan accused Fine Gael of "aligning" with the far right in the vote.
She said: “[The far right MEPs] clapped and cheered and banged the tables in glee when the resolution failed... that to me is just shocking and disgraceful”.
She added that it was a "sad day" in the European Parliament.
Sinn Féin's Matt Carthy, meanwhile, suggested there were "serious questions" for Fine Gael representatives to answer.
This resolution was defeated by 2 votes - the fascist group in the Parliament erupted in cheers. Serious questions for FG reps to answer, who’ll ask them? https://t.co/rhbaMz0Gb4
— Matt Carthy TD (@mattcarthy) October 24, 2019
'Not ready yet'
The centre-right EPP group - which includes Fine Gael - has defended their vote against the resolution, claiming it "was simply not ready yet".
They suggested: "It was irresponsible to table an ineffective text in order to grab headlines, when we need real solutions in order to improve the situation and save more lives."
Fine Gael MEP Seán Kelly also defended his vote:
I have consistently supported Operation Sophia and efforts to save lives in the Mediterranean. Yesterday I voted against a Parliamentary resolution as I didn't believe it was ready to be adopted and needed more work (1/2)
— Seán Kelly MEP (@SeanKellyMEP) October 25, 2019
He claimed: "We must keep this issue high on the agenda and work to agree a text that is good enough to secure the support of a strong parliamentary majority."