22/04/15 Senator Daly speaks to the Seanad and Chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade on Migration to Europe

Senator Daly: The root cause of this problem and tragedy dates from 31 October 2014 when the EU withdrew funding for Operation Mare Nostrum. In November 2014, I attended the Inter-Parliamentary Conference for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the Common Security and Defence Policy in Rome. At this meeting, I pointed out to the EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, that what she was doing was an abdication of a duty of care. Operation Mare Nostrum had five ships, helicopters, five aircraft, two submarines and 900 staff covering an area of 27,000 sq. km. All of this assistance was withdrawn while the area covered was reduced to 30 km off the coast with one third of its original budget, one large ship and three small patrol boats. The EU High Representative is now crying crocodile tears. At that meeting in Rome, I also pointed out this move was willingly and knowingly condemning these people who were going to be put into these boats to die. One foreign office decided the rescue missions had an unintended pull factor and did not act as a deterrent. The idea was to get rid of the rescue missions and maybe people would stop trying to get across the Mediterranean.

Suddenly, now the EU High Representative, Federica Mogherini, has a ten-point plan, one which as Deputy Crowe rightly said is not near good enough. She has much to answer for. She should actually resign because she oversaw all of this and knew it was going to happen. There was an obvious outcome. She will not fix the problem and she needs to be got rid of. We need a new EU High Representative who will solve this problem. The current rescue mission is only a Band-Aid. The cause of this is climate change, the war in Syria, Libya and elsewhere in North Africa. Former colonies have been abandoned by their previous masters and are now suffering the consequences, as Deputy Neville pointed out, of a post-colonial situation of which they are not equipped to take charge.

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