Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin is demanding urgent Government action to co-ordinate a comprehensive EU response to the refugee crisis.
Deputy Martin said: “After months of procrastination the Irish Government and the European Union need to take urgent action. The tragic deaths of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi and his 5-year-old brother Galip have to be the catalyst for every country in the EU to make an extra effort to ease this horrific humanitarian crisis. Some months ago Peter Sutherland, the UN Special Representative on Migration, pleaded with the Irish government to do more and his pleas fell on deaf ears.
“The contribution of the Irish Navy is very admirable – we can all be very proud of their performance in the Mediterranean Sea but Ireland has to do more to accommodate more refugees.
“We have to learn lesion from the Second World War. These families are predominantly war refugees from Syria. They are risking their lives to try to get to another country to live normally and raise their children in a safe and secure environment. They are crossing land and sea in a desperate cry for help. Ireland and Europe cannot ignore it any longer and as Mr. Sutherland said today “Europe has a brief chance to rescue its integrity”.
“I have no doubt there would be all party agreement in the Dáil to accommodate more refugees and I am calling on the Taoiseach to make this urgent decision immediately. I am also calling on the Taoiseach to confirm that the government will allow the Irish Navy to continue to assist in operations in the Mediterranean Sea beyond the deadline of October.”