Seventy-two Irish citizens and their families have been evacuated from Sudan, the Tánaiste has said.
On Sunday, the Government announced members of the Defence Forces would be deployed to the country and yesterday Tánaiste Micheál Martin said 50 out of the roughly 150 Irish people in Sudan had been evacuated thus far.
Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast earlier today, Minister of State Seán Fleming said there were still 100 Irish people in need of evacuation.
“Up to yesterday, we had brought out 50 Irish citizens and their family members and there are approximately 100 still in Sudan,” he said.
“We sent out a force yesterday of our Defence Forces - 12 members of our Defence Forces - and we have four or five very senior diplomats from the Department of Foreign Affairs - they are based in Djibouti.
“What is happening is we’re getting people out of Sudan to a neighbouring country, into Djibouti, and our people are looking after them there, settling them into accommodation for onward transport to Ireland as soon as people are ready to do so.”
When asked if any Irish people had been evacuated overnight, Minister Fleming said they had not.
“No, 50 is the last number but we would hope more would happen today,” he said.
“As I think is well known, we are working with our EU partners and most of the EU countries are working together. Few countries are working in absolute isolation without consultation with their EU partners.”
A three-day ceasefire began at midnight and Minister Fleming said he hoped it would encourage people who might have been nervous about leaving their homes to leave the country entirely.
“The biggest issue is getting people from where they are - mainly in Khartoum - to the military airport which is a number of miles outside Khartoum and that journey needs heavy military protection,” he said.
Following Minister Fleming's interview, Tánaiste Micheál Martin tweeted that 72 Irish citizens and their families since have been evacuated to safety.
The fighting in Sudan over the past week has left over 400 dead, including some 200 civilians.
Main image: Khartoum Airport, Sudan. Picture by: Alamy.com