99. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the cost of the Naval Service missions in the Mediterranean Sea each year to date; the number of Defence Forces personnel deployed on the missions per annum; the annual cost of the missions; if the use of Naval Service vessels in Operation Sophia has reduced the availability of the vessels for search and rescue missions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6930/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Naval Service Data)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The additional costs incurred from the deployment of Naval Service vessels to the Mediterranean under Operation Pontus and Operation Sophia comprise the costs of allowances, fuel and other ancillary costs.  Details of these costs and the numbers of Naval Service personnel deployed in the Mediterranean for each of the last three years are set out in the following table.
 YEAR COST No. of Defence Forces personnel deployed...

138. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of lives saved in the Mediterranean Sea during each of the Irish naval missions in each of the years 2015 to 2017. (Question 2934/18 asked on 23 Jan 2018 - Naval Service Operations)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The deployment of Irish Naval vessels to the Mediterranean to engage in humanitarian search and rescue tasks as part of Operation Pontus from 2015 to 2017, was an important element in Ireland’s response to the migration crisis in the Mediterranean. Overall, 17,509 migrants were rescued under Operation Pontus and details are out in the table below. 
 Year Deployed Naval     vessel Persons     rescued 2015 16 MAY - 1...

33. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the involvement of members of the Defence Forces, including members of the Naval Service, in the training of the Libyan coast guard in conjunction with the European Union’s Operation Sophia; the details of the training; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44038/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Defence Forces Operations)

Deputy Mick Wallace: Operation Pontus, the search and rescue mission, was established as a humanitarian mission with the primary focus being on saving lives. Wonderful work was done and almost 16,000 lives were saved in the Mediterranean. The recent Dáil motion to bring Operation Pontus within the remit of Operation Sophia was a terrible development. The day before the motion was considered, a House of Lords inquiry in the United Kingdom concluded that Operation Sophia had failed in its manda...

65. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the status of Defence Forces activities as part of operation Sophia to date. (Question 52737/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Overseas Missions)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The EU Common Security and Defence Policy naval operation EUNAVFOR MED (Operation Sophia), against human smugglers and traffickers, is one element of a comprehensive approach to addressing the migration crisis in the South Central Mediterranean. Operation Sophia was launched in June 2015 as part of the EU’s broader action to provide a comprehensive response to the global migration and refugee crisis and to encourage a democrati...

486. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has concerns regarding the recent reports by Human Rights Watch (details supplied) documenting serious human rights abuses including physical and sexual violence and extrajudicial killings as a direct result of the EU’s efforts to stem migration from Libya, and, in particular, Operation Sophia. (Question 22390/16 asked on 19 Jul 2016 - Human Rights Investigations)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I take very seriously the reported abuses in the report referred to by the Deputy and condemn all such affronts against the fundamental rights and dignity of the persons concerned. I do not accept the contention that serious human rights’ abuses are a direct result of the EU’s efforts to stem migration from Libya. The current political situation in Libya, with the absence of a functioning government, and the existence of a large...

57. Deputy John Paul Phelan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he has given consideration to Defence Forces participation in EU efforts to counteract illegal person trafficking and to disrupt the business model of criminal elements involved in such activities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 23093/17 asked on 17 May 2017 - Defence Forces Operations)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The EU Common Security and Defence Policy naval operation EUNAVFOR MED (Operation Sophia), against human smugglers and traffickers, is one element of a comprehensive approach to addressing the migration crisis in the South Central Mediterranean. The mission is also providing capacity building and training to the Libyan Coastguard and Navy and contributing to the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution No. 2292 (UNSCR 2...

38. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his plans for continued support for migrants in the Mediterranean area by the Naval Service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 25500/17 asked on 11 Jul 2017 - Naval Service Operations)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): In April 2017, the Government approved the despatch of a Naval vessel to the Mediterranean to undertake humanitarian search and rescue tasks as part of a bilateral arrangement with the Italian authorities. Similar arrangements were put in place in 2015 and 2016. The role of the Irish Naval vessels is to provide a search and rescue capability and to undertake humanitarian search and rescue operations at sea in the Mediterranean....

4. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the role played by the Naval Service in the arrest of scafisti in the Mediterranean, that is persons who are forced to drive boats and then arrested as human smugglers and in the event of there being an involvement to justify same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11685/18 asked on 08 Mar 2018 - Naval Service Operations)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): In July 2017, Government and Dáil approval was secured for the deployment of a contingent of the Permanent Defence Force to serve as part of the EU Common Security and Defence Policy naval mission in the Mediterranean, Operation Sophia. Irish Naval vessel L.É. Niamh, subsequently deployed to the Mediterranean from October to December 2017. 
In the course of its deployment in Operation Sophia last year, the crew of L.É. Niamh...

583. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence to update Dáil Éireann on the continued role of Irish Navy personnel, in assisting with the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean; how long this mission will continue; the level of engagement he has had with European Union partners on this vital humanitarian mission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17292/16 asked on 21 Jun 2016 - Naval Service Operations)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe) (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Following a Government Decision on 12 May 2015, the Irish Naval Vessel, L.É. Eithne, was deployed to the Mediterranean on 16 May, 2015, to assist the Italian Authorities with the migrant crisis. During 2015 two further vessels were deployed, L.É. Niamh and L.É. Samuel Beckett, and the deployment was completed on 29 November 2015, with L.É. Samuel Beckett arriving back in Ireland on 17 December 2015. During ...

37. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the Naval Service humanitarian mission to the Mediterranean Sea will continue to be a unilateral one or if he is giving consideration to integrating the Irish contribution in wider EU efforts. (Question 39809/16 asked on 13 Dec 2016 - Naval Service Operations)

(Deputy Paul Kehoe): Following a Government decision on 12 May 2015, three Naval Service vessels, LE Eithne, LE Niamh and LE Samuel Beckett, were deployed to the Mediterranean between May and November 2015 to assist the Italian authorities with the migrant crisis. During that period, 8,592 people were rescued in the Mediterranean by Irish Naval Service vessels.
On 6 April 2016, the Government approved the return of a Naval Service vessel to undertake humanitarian search and rescue tasks in the ...

96. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if the conditions and treatment of migrants in detention centres in Libya was raised at the recent Foreign Affairs Council; the outcome of such discussions; the proposals there are to deal with these matters; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 29382/17 asked on 22 Jun 2017 - EU Meetings)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The ongoing migration crisis is one of the greatest challenges facing the EU, and the Union has put in place a broad range of measures to address it. These have included the relocation of migrants from Italy and Greece across the EU; generous humanitarian assistance to countries hosting large numbers of migrants; and Operation Sophia, the naval operation to address the evil trade of people- trafficking in the Mediterranean. Those mea...

130. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on whether it is right for the EU to continue to fund the Libyan coast guard service following reports of the Libyan coast guard physically abusing migrants at sea in view of the evidence of appalling humanitarian conditions in the detention centres to which migrants are returned by the Libyan coast guard and the concerns raised regarding the treatment of migrants in Libya at the EU Foreign Affairs Council on 19 June 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 32028/17 asked on 06 Jul 2017 - Question Heading for question(s) 129,130)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 129 and 130 together.
I share the Deputy’s concerns about the conditions that many migrants are facing in Libya. The EU collectively, as well as member states working alone, have been working hard to try to improve conditions on the ground. 
The political situation in Libya remains complex. No single government has controlled Libya since the fall of Colonel Gaddafi, and at the present time there are ...

516. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Defence the extent to which the Naval Service continues to successfully carry out its operations in the Mediterranean; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 22397/15 asked on 09 Jun 2015 - Naval Service Operations)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): At a special meeting of the European Council on 23 April 2015, the Taoiseach announced that Ireland would deploy an Irish Naval Service vessel to assist in the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean. Following Government approval and agreement with the Italian authorities, L.É. Eithne arrived in the South Central Mediterranean on 23 May 2015, to assist the Italian authorities in humanitarian search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean. 
The ...

30. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence when the LÉ Niamh will redeploy as part of Operation Sophia following its return from deployment on 20 December 2017. (Question 3348/18 asked on 24 Jan 2018 - Naval Service Operations)

Deputy Bríd Smith: I seek an update from the Minister of State on what interaction, if any, the Defence Forces have, directly or indirectly, with the Libyan authorities, specifically the Libyan coast guard. I have asked many times what the European Union programme that provides funding to Libya to hold refugees within its borders is doing to the large number of human beings who are fleeing desperate circumstances. Not only do we have an extremely dodgy relationship with the Libyan coast guard ...

32. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the status of the Defence Forces involvement with Operation Sophia; the status of the LÉ Niamh; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3364/18 asked on 24 Jan 2018 - Naval Service Operations)

Deputy Bríd Smith: I seek an update from the Minister of State on what interaction, if any, the Defence Forces have, directly or indirectly, with the Libyan authorities, specifically the Libyan coast guard. I have asked many times what the European Union programme that provides funding to Libya to hold refugees within its borders is doing to the large number of human beings who are fleeing desperate circumstances. Not only do we have an extremely dodgy relationship with the Libyan coast guard ...

508. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence if he will provide a progress report on the current mission of the LÉ EITHNE and its crew in the Mediterranean; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 21722/15 asked on 09 Jun 2015 - Naval Service Vessels)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): At a special meeting of the European Council on 23 April 2015, the Taoiseach announced that Ireland was prepared to allocate a fully crewed Naval vessel to assist in the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean once the legal clarifications were received.  Following Government approval and agreement with the Italian authorities, the L.É. Eithne arrived in the South Central Mediterranean on 23 May 2015, to assist the Italian authorities in humanitarian...

100. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the efforts currently being made at EU level to address the migration and refugee crisis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 25616/17 asked on 30 May 2017 - Immigration Policy)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The migration crisis has been one of the greatest challenges facing the EU for the past two years. Migration has featured on the agenda of almost every European Councils in the same period and will be on the agenda of next month’s European Council too. It has also featured prominently on the Foreign Affairs and Justice and Home Affairs’ Council agendas.
The EU has responded to the crisis by adopting a range of measures to deal w...

121. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Defence the role of the LE Eithne in the European Union response to the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean; if he will guarantee that it, or any other Irish vessel, will not become involved in any European Union military operations in the Mediterranean, regardless of whether a United Nations Security Council mandate is secured in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 21376/15 asked on 09 Jun 2015 - Naval Service Vessels)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): L.É. Eithne arrived in the South Central Mediterranean on 23 May 2015, to assist the Italian authorities in humanitarian search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean.
The role of the Irish Naval vessel is to provide a search and rescue capability and to undertake humanitarian rescue operations at sea in the Mediterranean. Assistance to persons in distress at sea is being provided in accordance with the applicable provisions of international conv...

128. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Defence his plans to deploy Naval Service and Army resources on a Mediterranean humanitarian mission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 21291/15 asked on 09 Jun 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): At a special meeting of the European Council on 23 April 2015, the Taoiseach announced that Ireland would deploy an Irish Naval Service vessel to assist in the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean. Following Government approval and agreement with the Italian authorities, L.É. Eithne arrived in the South Central Mediterranean on 23 May 2015, to assist the Italian authorities in humanitarian search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean.
The ro...

19. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Defence in view of the LÉ Eithne’s most recent rescue of migrants in distress in the Mediterranean Sea, if he will provide an update on the work carried out by the LÉ Eithne. (Question 25108/15 asked on 25 Jun 2015 - Naval Service Vessels)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Following Government approval and agreement with the Italian authorities, L.É. Eithne arrived in the South Central Mediterranean on 23 May 2015, to assist the Italian authorities in humanitarian search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean. The role of the Irish Naval vessel is to provide a search and rescue capability and to undertake humanitarian rescue operations at sea in the Mediterranean. Assistance to persons in distress at sea is being ...

266. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will report on the increased number of immigrants from Libya and African countries via Italy; and the increased challenges this is posing on Italy and Greece. (Question 32466/17 asked on 11 Jul 2017 - Immigration Data)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The migration crisis has been one of the greatest challenges facing the EU for the last two years. It has been a particular problem for Italy and Greece as the. EU countries where the majority of migrants arrive. The EU has responded to the crisis by adopting a range of measures to deal with this mass movement of people. These have included engaging with countries of origin and transit to address the root causes of migration inclu...

346. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the extent to which the EU expects to be in a position to respond to the issue of refugees including those crossing by boat in the Mediterranean; the extent to which all EU countries are likely to support measures to address the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 25986/17 asked on 30 May 2017 - Refugee Resettlement Programme)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 346, 348 and 353 together.
Migration has been close to the top of the EU agenda since the current crisis emerged a little over two years ago. It has featured on the agenda of almost every European Council over the period, as well on the agenda of many Foreign Affairs and JHA Councils. The migration crisis will again be discussed by EU Heads of State and Government at their June European Council m...

348. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the improved proposals the EU may have to cater for an influx of refugees throughout the summer; if a unified approach might emerge; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 25988/17 asked on 30 May 2017 - Refugee Resettlement Programme)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 346, 348 and 353 together.
Migration has been close to the top of the EU agenda since the current crisis emerged a little over two years ago. It has featured on the agenda of almost every European Council over the period, as well on the agenda of many Foreign Affairs and JHA Councils. The migration crisis will again be discussed by EU Heads of State and Government at their June European Council m...

353. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if new initiatives are required and agreed to deal with the refugee situation in Europe with particular reference to attempting to achieve a Europe-wide approach; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 25994/17 asked on 30 May 2017 - Refugee Resettlement Programme)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 346, 348 and 353 together.
Migration has been close to the top of the EU agenda since the current crisis emerged a little over two years ago. It has featured on the agenda of almost every European Council over the period, as well on the agenda of many Foreign Affairs and JHA Councils. The migration crisis will again be discussed by EU Heads of State and Government at their June European Council m...

403. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Defence if he will report on the welfare of migrants who have been rescued from the Mediterranean Sea by the crew of the LE Eithne. (Question 23782/15 asked on 16 Jun 2015 - Naval Service Operations)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 403 and 404 together.
Following Government approval and agreement with the Italian authorities, L.É. Eithne arrived in the South Central Mediterranean on 23 May 2015, to assist the Italian authorities in humanitarian search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean. 
The role of the Irish Naval vessel is to provide a search and rescue capability and to undertake humanitarian rescue operations at sea in the Mediterrane...

404. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Defence the countries of origin of migrants who have been rescued from the Mediterranean Sea by the crew of the LE Eithne. (Question 23783/15 asked on 16 Jun 2015 - Naval Service Operations)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 403 and 404 together.
Following Government approval and agreement with the Italian authorities, L.É. Eithne arrived in the South Central Mediterranean on 23 May 2015, to assist the Italian authorities in humanitarian search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean. 
The role of the Irish Naval vessel is to provide a search and rescue capability and to undertake humanitarian rescue operations at sea in the Mediterrane...

15. Deputy Patrick O’Donovan asked the Minister for Defence if he will provide details on the operations, to date, that the LÉ Eithne has been engaged with in the Mediterranean Sea; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 24846/15 asked on 25 Jun 2015 - Naval Service Vessels)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Following Government approval and agreement with the Italian authorities, L.É. Eithne arrived in the South Central Mediterranean on 23 May 2015, to assist the Italian authorities in humanitarian search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean. The role of the Irish Naval vessel is to provide a search and rescue capability and to undertake humanitarian rescue operations at sea in the Mediterranean. Assistance to persons in distress at sea is being p...

176. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the purpose of British Royal Navy submarine activities off the west coast; and if there was engagement with authorities here regarding recent reports of a British Royal Navy submarine operating near Achill Island, County Mayo. (Question 23516/17 asked on 17 May 2017 - Foreign Naval Vessels)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): On 9 May last, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was contacted by the British Embassy in Dublin in relation to an emergency medical evacuation of a crew member of a UK Royal Navy submarine, located outside of Ireland’s territorial seas.
Following a request from the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency, an Irish Coast Guard helicopter carried out an evacuation and the injured party was transferred to hospital for treatment.
...

428. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Defence if he will report on the medical assistance provided to migrants rescued from the Mediterranean Sea by the LE Eithne; if there were common medical problems faced by the migrants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 28588/15 asked on 14 Jul 2015 - Naval Service Operations)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 426 to 428, inclusive, together. 
Following Government approval, the LE Eithne arrived in the South Central Mediterranean on 23 May 2015 to assist the Italian authorities in humanitarian search and rescue operations. 
The role of the Irish Naval vessel is to provide a search and rescue capability and to undertake humanitarian rescue operations at sea in the Mediterranean. Assistance to persons in distress at sea is bei...

347. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Defence the welfare of migrants taken aboard the LÉ Eithne on 22 June 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 25756/15 asked on 30 Jun 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Following Government approval the L.É. Eithne arrived in the South Central Mediterranean on 23 May 2015, to assist the Italian authorities in humanitarian search and rescue operations.
The role of the Irish Naval vessel is to provide a search and rescue capability and to undertake humanitarian rescue operations at sea in the Mediterranean. Assistance to persons in distress at sea is being provided in accordance with the applicable provisions of intern...

426. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Defence the total number of migrants the LE Eithne has rescued from the Mediterranean Sea. (Question 28586/15 asked on 14 Jul 2015 - Naval Service Operations)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 426 to 428, inclusive, together. 
Following Government approval, the LE Eithne arrived in the South Central Mediterranean on 23 May 2015 to assist the Italian authorities in humanitarian search and rescue operations. 
The role of the Irish Naval vessel is to provide a search and rescue capability and to undertake humanitarian rescue operations at sea in the Mediterranean. Assistance to persons in distress at sea is bei...

427. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Defence the countries of origin of the migrants the LÉ Eithne has rescued from the Mediterranean Sea. (Question 28587/15 asked on 14 Jul 2015 - Naval Service Operations)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 426 to 428, inclusive, together. 
Following Government approval, the LE Eithne arrived in the South Central Mediterranean on 23 May 2015 to assist the Italian authorities in humanitarian search and rescue operations. 
The role of the Irish Naval vessel is to provide a search and rescue capability and to undertake humanitarian rescue operations at sea in the Mediterranean. Assistance to persons in distress at sea is bei...

23. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence if he will provide an update on the LÉ Eithne’s mission in the Mediterranean; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 25087/15 asked on 25 Jun 2015 - Naval Service Operations)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Following Government approval and agreement with the Italian authorities, L.É. Eithne arrived in the South Central Mediterranean on 23 May 2015, to assist the Italian authorities in humanitarian search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean. The role of the Irish Naval vessel is to provide a search and rescue capability and to undertake humanitarian rescue operations at sea in the Mediterranean. Assistance to persons in distress at sea is being ...

26. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of refugees rescued by Irish Naval Service vessels in the Mediterranean sea; if it will continue with further missions there; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16707/16 asked on 21 Jun 2016 - Naval Service Operations)

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Following a Government decision on 12 May 2015, the Irish Naval Vessel LE Eithne was deployed to the Mediterranean Sea on 16 May 2015 to assist the Italian authorities with the migrant crisis. During 2015 two further vessels were deployed, LE Niamh and LE Samuel Beckett, and the deployment was completed on 29 November 2015, with LE Samuel Beckett arriving back in Ireland on 17 December 2015. During that period, 8,592 people were rescued in the Mediterranean Sea by Irish Nava...

391. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the status of the EU Libya deal on migration and refugees; if he has satisfied himself that Libya is a safe country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16238/17 asked on 04 Apr 2017 - EU Migration Crisis)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The migration crisis has been one of the greatest challenges facing the EU for the past two years. Migration was the main focus of the informal European Council held in Malta on 3 February, at which a Declaration addressing the external aspects of migration was issued. The Declaration restates the EU’s commitment to assist Libya. Priority is to be given to supporting the Libyan national coast guard; ensuring adequate reception ...

191. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the challenges Italy has with the increased numbers of immigrants from Libya and African countries; and if the EU will assist more (Question 32471/17 asked on 12 Jul 2017 - EU Migration Crisis)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): Italy and Greece have for the past two years been at the centre of the EU migration crisis. Following the deal agreed between EU Heads of State and Government and Turkey in March 2016 the migration pressure moved from Greece to Italy. More than 85,000 people have risked the Mediterranean crossing to reach Italy so far this year, a 20% increase over the same period in 2016, according to figures from the International Organisation for ...

253. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the position regarding the recent efforts being made at EU and international level to address the migration crisis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 31029/17 asked on 04 Jul 2017 - EU Migration Crisis)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The migration crisis has been one of the greatest challenges facing the EU for the past two years. Migration has featured on the agenda of almost every European Council in the same period, including the recent June European Council.
The EU has responded to the crisis by adopting a range of measures to deal with this mass movement of people. These have included engaging with countries of origin and transit to address the root causes...

6. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he will re-examine operations by the Defence Forces which support or interact with Libyan military or coastguard forces (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3370/18 asked on 24 Jan 2018 - Naval Service Operations)

Deputy Bríd Smith: I seek an update from the Minister of State on what interaction, if any, the Defence Forces have, directly or indirectly, with the Libyan authorities, specifically the Libyan coast guard. I have asked many times what the European Union programme that provides funding to Libya to hold refugees within its borders is doing to the large number of human beings who are fleeing desperate circumstances. Not only do we have an extremely dodgy relationship with the Libyan coast guard ...

80. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the Libyan coast guard is aggressively stopping boats full of refugees in international waters (details supplied); his views on whether Libya is a safe country of origin; and the steps he is taking to request the Libyan coast guard to cease violating international law by returning refugees to a country which is not a safe country of origin. (Question 18146/18 asked on 25 Apr 2018 - Human Rights)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 79 and 80 together.
I am deeply troubled by the abuses perpetrated against refugees and migrants in Libya. My EU colleagues and I have raised these concerns on a number of occasions at the Foreign Affairs Council, as did the Taoiseach at the European Council in October. I reiterate my call on the Libyan Government, and all parties, including those with de facto control of territory, to ...

129. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the new steps the EU will take to safeguard the human rights of migrants in Libya; if official EU inspections of the human rights conditions in detention centres will take place; if proper systems of registering persons held in detention centres will be implemented in view of the concerns raised regarding the treatment of migrants in Libya at the EU Foreign Affairs Council on 19 June 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 32027/17 asked on 06 Jul 2017 - Question Heading for question(s) 129,130)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 129 and 130 together.
I share the Deputy’s concerns about the conditions that many migrants are facing in Libya. The EU collectively, as well as member states working alone, have been working hard to try to improve conditions on the ground. 
The political situation in Libya remains complex. No single government has controlled Libya since the fall of Colonel Gaddafi, and at the present time there are ...

169. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Defence if he is satisfied that air sea rescue services at Navy and Air Corps level continue to be adequately staffed and funded in view of the extent of coastline and the need to combat drug or people trafficking; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49033/12 asked on 07 Nov 2012 - Search and Rescue Service)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): The Irish Coast Guard has overall responsibility for the provision of search and rescue services within the Irish search and rescue region and the responsibility for the prevention of drug-trafficking and people trafficking rests primarily with the Revenue Commissioners and An Garda Síochána respectively. However, the White Paper on Defence provides a role for the Naval Service and the Air Corps to assist and support the civil authorities in this work...

79. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if funds from his Department are sent to Libya through European Union grants to help fund the Libyan coast guard and-or detention centres for migrants and refugees in that country. (Question 18145/18 asked on 25 Apr 2018 - Human Rights)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 79 and 80 together.
I am deeply troubled by the abuses perpetrated against refugees and migrants in Libya. My EU colleagues and I have raised these concerns on a number of occasions at the Foreign Affairs Council, as did the Taoiseach at the European Council in October. I reiterate my call on the Libyan Government, and all parties, including those with de facto control of territory, to ...

41. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will report on recent European efforts to address the refugee crisis and the supports being provided by the Government; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53146/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - EU Migration Crisis)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The EU has responded to the migration crisis by adopting a range of measures to deal with this mass movement of people. These have included engaging with countries of origin and transit to address the root causes of migration including through the Migration Partnership Framework; agreeing a plan to relocate migrants from Italy and Greece across the Union; the launching of an EU Naval Force, Operation Sophia, to disrupt ...

93. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Defence for an update on the work of the LÉ Samuel Beckett in the Mediterranean, and on his recent meeting with the ship’s captain and members of the crew. (Question 41164/15 asked on 24 Nov 2015 - Naval Service Vessels)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): L.É. Samuel Beckett is the third Irish Naval vessel deployed to the Mediterranean to assist the Italian Authorities with the migrant crisis, in line with the Government Decision on 12 May 2015. L.É. Samuel Beckett is continuing the excellent work undertaken by L.É. Eithne and L.É. Niamh in the Mediterranean. The role of the Irish Naval vessel is to provide a search and rescue capability and to undertake humanitarian rescue operations at sea in the M...

77. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Defence the reason the Navy Service turned down a request from An Garda Síochána to assist in a search operation (details supplied) in County Mayo; the reason the Naval Service is not automatically involved in every search mission at sea; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 32450/15 asked on 23 Sep 2015 - Naval Service Operations)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 77 to 81, inclusive, together.
It should be noted that the primary responder for search and rescue in the State is the Irish Coast Guard (IRCG). The primary role of the Naval Service Diving Section is to support Naval and other Defence Forces operations. However, the Naval Service makes every effort to deploy to assist in maritime search operations following a request from the IRCG or from An Garda Síochána. 
On the ...

278. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the reason the LÉ Eithne was delayed from leaving Haulbowline to help Italian authorities rescue migrants in the Mediterranean Sea; the length of time the LÉ Eithne was forced to remain in dock; if there will be an investigation into the events; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 22425/17 asked on 11 May 2017 - Naval Service Vessels)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): There has been no delay in the deployment of the LÉ Eithne to support the Italian authorities in addressing the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean Sea.
On 11 April 2017, the Government approved the despatch of a Naval vessel to the Mediterranean to undertake humanitarian search and rescue tasks as part of a bilateral arrangement with the Italian authorities. The Government decision provided that the deployment is subject to fi...

257. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will report on the EU-Libya migration agreement; the efforts being made to safeguard refugees returned to Libya; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 32298/17 asked on 11 Jul 2017 - EU Agreements)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): There is no EU Libya migration agreement as such. Rather the EU has proposed a number of ways to help Libya to manage and control the flow of migrants risking their lives, and it continues to seek solutions to prevent further loss of life and to improve conditions on the ground for migrants.
The March European Council confirmed the EU’s commitment to assist Libya as set out in February’s Malta Declaration. That commitment is broad-...

261. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Defence when he will dispatch the L E Róisín to the Mediterranean to undertake search and rescue activities in respect of the refugee and humanitarian crises. (Question 7167/16 asked on 14 Apr 2016 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Following a Government Decision on 12 May 2015, the Irish Naval Vessel, L.É. Eithne, was deployed to the Mediterranean on 16 May, 2015, to assist the Italian Authorities with the migrant crisis. Two further vessels were deployed, L.É. Niamh and L.É. Samuel Beckett, and the deployment was completed on 29 November 2015, with L.É. Samuel Beckett arriving back in Ireland on 17 December 2015. During that period 8,592 people were rescued in the Mediterrane...

677. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he raised any opposition to the European Union proposal to commence a military mission to prevent illegal smuggling off the coast of Libya; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 23333/15 asked on 16 Jun 2015 - Overseas Missions)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): In the wake of tragic loss of life in the Mediterranean, the European Council in April agreed that the immediate priority is to prevent more people from dying at sea. It undertook to use all tools at the EU’s disposal and to work with countries of origin and transit of migrants to tackle the root causes of the current human emergency. Ireland strongly supports this comprehensive approach which includes continued provision of deve...

125. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Defence to outline the extent to which he remains satisfied regarding the resources and facilities available to the Army, Navy and Air Corps with particular reference to modern technology and equipment as required for air and sea surveillance for rescue operations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35067/14 asked on 18 Sep 2014 - Defence Forces Equipment)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): The Irish Coast Guard has primary responsibility for the provision of search and rescue services within the Irish search and rescue region. A Service Level Agreement is in place with the Irish Coast Guard which sets out, inter alia, the search and rescue support that the Air Corps and Naval Service can provide to the Coast Guard. The provision of onshore assistance by Air Corps helicopters for mountain rescue operations is also covered in the Agreeme...