500,000 migrants and refugees arrived in Europe by sea so far in 2015, double 2014 total – Hayes

Hayes calls on large EU member States to match Ireland’s naval rescue commitment.

Speaking at a forum with Irish NGOs on the Migrant & Refugee crisis in Europe, Dublin MEP Brian Hayes said that there needs to be larger naval rescue commitment by EU Member states. Mr Hayes made the comments as latest figures show that the number of migrants and asylum seekers who have arrived in Europe by sea in September 2015 has now reached  half a million.

“The migrant and refugee issue hasn’t gone away and the focus needs to return to the issue of deaths on sea routes. Almost 3,000 men, women and children who were fleeing persecution have lost their lives this year. From January to September, 106,000 migrants were rescued in the Mediterranean. Had these rescue boats not been deployed the number of deaths would have been considerably higher.”

“The recent public debate about the number of refugees the EU accepts, has distracted from the more fundamental issue of human smuggling, deaths at sea and how refugees are supported once they land in the EU.”

“While supporting refugees in camps and arranging resettlement before they attempt to cross the Mediterranean is important, we cannot ignore the huge number of criminal gangs putting refugees lives at risk in flimsy crafts.”

“I’m calling on larger Member States to commit more ships to Operation Triton in the Mediterranean. The commitment of our navy is not being matched, in proportionate terms, by the larger Member States. This has to change if we are to stop thousands more dying at sea.” concluded MEP Hayes.

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