Statement by YFG on the ongoing Mediterranean Crisis

In light of the ongoing migrant crisis in the Mediterranean, Young Fine Gael would like to recognise the efforts and the work of the Irish Defence Forces crews currently working in the region. LÉ Eithne has already returned from a six week mission, recruiting 3,376 migrants. The LÉ Niamh is now taking part in the humanitarian search and rescue operation as unprecedented numbers continue to board unseaworthy vessels in the hope of rescue or reaching European shores. We would like to further recognise the commendable government efforts thus far for engaging with the EU-wide response and accepting 600 refugees over two years, despite having no obligation to do so under EU Justice and Home Affairs opt-outs. However, due to the gravity of the situation, YFG calls on the government to accept a greater number of refugees than is currently being considered.

Furthermore, YFG would like to take this opportunity to reiterate its stance on direct provision, calling on the government to end "direct provision" for asylum seekers and replace it with a more humane system. The current system is not fit for purpose - meaning Ireland is not able to engage fully with efforts at higher levels to ease the migrant crisis.

At European level, we fully support our YEPP Christian Democrat colleagues in their plea to European policy makers to ensure they do not cede to world-views nurtured by intolerance, racism, fundamentalism and misogyny but instead are supportive and act as a beacon of humane and progressive values. In the long run YFG calls for a resolute, tough and united stance from the EU and the international community to deal with the murderous terrorist insurgency in the Middle East that is precipitating the crisis once and for all. Accommodating refugees is an immediate solution but decisive action must be taken as part of a long term solution with the intention of ensuring that no one is forced becomes an asylum seeker. YFG is hopeful that a more concrete solution will be reached at the EU Emergency Summit on the issue on the 14th of September. 

YFG through its International Committee have a track record of bringing issues like this to the fore and will continue to liaise on a European level with our YEPP partners to ensure we engage fully with international issues.

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