Press Centre

Proposed EU response to crisis in Mediterranean ‘a shameful moment in the history of Ireland and the EU’

Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI), Dublin, 23 April 2015

A draft summit statement has indicated that the EU response to the mounting death toll in the Mediterranean will be deeply insufficient. Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) has responded to the leaked statement:

Speaking from Brussels, Edel McGinley, Director of the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland, stated “It is beyond disappointing that instead of leading the call for a compassionate humanitarian response to this crisis, Ireland appears to be falling into step with EU leaders and endorsing a callous plan that will condemn even more men, women and children to death at the borders of our rich continent. This is a shameful moment in the history of Ireland and the EU.”

McGinley continued, “There is an appalling disconnect between the words and actions of our EU leaders this week. They have expressed deep shock and sadness at the deaths of hundreds of men, women and children in the Mediterranean, and yet this planned response will lead to even more deaths. The pledge to resettle a paltry 5,000 refugees in a continent of half a billion people is little more than a smokescreen for increased securitisation and a renewed commitment to turning back the vast majority of desperate people at our borders.”

Much of the discussion at EU level has centred on the smugglers – often incorrectly referred to as traffickers – who arrange the crossings. In response to this, Edel McGinley said, “The focus on smugglers is a distraction; they are a symptom, not a cause. People are fleeing warzones, armed conflicts, persecution and poverty. No one would step into one of these boats unless they had no other options, but European leaders seem hell-bent on removing even that option from them.”

McGinley concluded, “This is an opportunity for European leaders to end the catastrophic loss of life at our borders. Europe must reinstate an enhanced and expanded search and rescue programme in the Mediterranean, increase resettlement programmes for refugees across the EU, and create safe, legal channels of migration to Europe so that no one will have to risk their life in this perilous crossing, ever again.”



Aoife Murphy, MRCI Communications 086 3687901


The draft statement is available at