Irish Naval Service in Forefront of Migrant Rescue Effort


The Irish Naval Service, LÉ Eithne, which is on station in the Mediterranean as part of a multi-nation EU operation to rescue migrants undertook two rescues last week in which over 500 people’s lives were saved.

In December 2014 the European Union took a catastrophic decision to curtail search and rescue cover in the Mediterranean. At the time the Celtic League was one of a small number of NGOs which started lobbying furiously in response to an alert from the International Organisation on Migration.

We specifically targeted the International Maritime Organisation pointing out that the EU decision flew in the face of undertakings entered into by EU Maritime States under IMO resolutions on the safety of life at sea. To its credit the IMO took immediate action, however, it was only after many weeks of lobbying and great loss of life that the policy was reversed.

The LÉ Eithne, the current flagship of the Irish Naval Service, is one of a number of vessels from EU States assisting hard pressed Mediterranean States’ Navies and Coastguards as part of the new rescue effort.

In carrying out this role the vessel and her crew reinforce the sound record that Irish Military Forces already have in supporting International peace-keeping and humanitarian relief.

Commenting on the Irish Naval contribution to the rescue effort Defence Minister Simon Coveney TD, said:

“LÉ Eithne under the command of her captain, Commander Pearse O’Donnell, and her crew are providing an invaluable asset in assisting with the Mediterranean migrant crisis. The operation today demonstrates clearly the value of our participation in this important humanitarian mission.”


J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League


(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)


The Celtic League was established in 1961and has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

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