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  1. #1
    Wascurito Wascurito is offline
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    Ireland seeks to join EU Naval Group Operation Sophia

    RTÉ is reporting that Ireland is considering a change in the status of its naval migrant rescue operations in the Mediterranean.

    Minister of State for Defence Paul Kehoe will bring proposals to Cabinet on Tuesday seeking approval for the country to join the UN mandated EU Naval Group Operation Sophia and the plan is for a motion to be put to the Dáil on Wednesday.

    Such a proposal would be subject to the Triple Lock Mechanism meaning that it needs to be mandated by the UN, the Cabinet and the Oireachtas - hence the need for a Dáil vote.

    Currently, Irish navy operations in the Mediterranean are based on a bilateral arrangement with Italy. Since 2015, Irish naval forces have saved about 16,000 migrants in the southern Mediterranean engaged in the hazardous trip across to Europe from Africa.

    The aim of Operation Sophia (as described here) is to:
    contribute to the "disruption of the business model of human smuggling and trafficking networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean" by "efforts to identify, capture and dispose of vessels used or suspected of being used by smugglers".

    So, Operation Sophia focuses on smugglers rather than on the rescue of the migrants themselves, even though saving lives can be a part of the mandate.

    This is where it gets interesting: Operation Sophia is currently in what is called Phase 2. Phase 3 would involve a more combative approach to tackling the human traffickers including possible action on Libyan soil.

    This isn't going to happen automatically and would require UN and EU approval. However, given the increasing flow of migrants across the Mediterranean this summer, it's easy to see how EU governments could decide that such an option is required.
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  2. #2
    Vega1447 Vega1447 is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wascurito View Post
    RTÉ is reporting that Ireland is considering a change in the status of its naval migrant rescue operations in the Mediterranean.

    Minister of State for Defence Paul Kehoe will bring proposals to Cabinet on Tuesday seeking approval for the country to join the UN mandated EU Naval Group Operation Sophia and the plan is for a motion to be put to the Dáil on Wednesday.

    Such a proposal would be subject to the Triple Lock Mechanism meaning that it needs to be mandated by the UN, the Cabinet and the Oireachtas - hence the need for a Dáil vote.

    Currently, Irish navy operations in the Mediterranean are based on a bilateral arrangement with Italy. Since 2015, Irish naval forces have saved about 16,000 migrants in the southern Mediterranean engaged in the hazardous trip across to Europe from Africa.

    The aim of Operation Sophia (as described here) is to:
    contribute to the "disruption of the business model of human smuggling and trafficking networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean" by "efforts to identify, capture and dispose of vessels used or suspected of being used by smugglers".

    So, Operation Sophia focuses on smugglers rather than on the rescue of the migrants themselves, even though saving lives can be a part of the mandate.

    This is where it gets interesting: Operation Sophia is currently in what is called Phase 2. Phase 3 would involve a more combative approach to tackling the human traffickers including possible action on Libyan soil.

    This isn't going to happen automatically and would require UN and EU approval. However, given the increasing flow of migrants across the Mediterranean this summer, it's easy to see how EU governments could decide that such an option is required.
    Good.

    Providing a ferry service from Libya to Italy is self defeating.
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  3. #3
    ger12 ger12 is offline
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    I have no objections, and I don't think it impinges on our neutrality.
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  4. #4
    Northsideman Northsideman is offline
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    This Taxi service should be shut down.

    If we were bringing them to Ireland instead of Italy it would be.
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  5. #5
    Wascurito Wascurito is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vega1447 View Post
    Good.

    Providing a ferry service from Libya to Italy is self defeating.
    How would you feel about Irish military personnel being involved in military action in Libya?
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  6. #6
    Wascurito Wascurito is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Northsideman View Post
    This Taxi service should be shut down.

    If we were bringing them to Ireland instead of Italy it would be.
    As I understand it, the rescues by the Irish navy will continue.
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  7. #7
    razorblade razorblade is online now

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    We shouldnt be getting involved in this at all, its not our problem, the only thing our naval service should be doing is dropping all the migrants back to the African coast, not ferrying them to Europe.
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  8. #8
    Northsideman Northsideman is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wascurito View Post
    As I understand it, the rescues by the Irish navy will continue.
    Yes but if they were being brought here instead of being dumped on the Italians it wouldn't.
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  9. #9
    ger12 ger12 is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wascurito View Post
    How would you feel about Irish military personnel being involved in military action in Libya?
    You're jumping the gun, and assuming we'd be signing up to phase 3.
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  10. #10
    Wascurito Wascurito is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by ger12 View Post
    You're jumping the gun, and assuming we'd be signing up to phase 3.
    I'm just asking the question. There's no harm in seeking opinions now. I wouldn't necessarily oppose the Irish taking part in military action in Libya.
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