69 refugees transferred here in last week, of 353 we have agreed to accept by Christmas

The Taoiseach has defended the slow pace of relocating refugees from the Mediterranean to Ireland.

He told the Dáil that 69 refugees had been transferred to Ireland since October 11 after fleeing the Middle East via Greece.

However, that is still only a fraction of the 353 refugees Ireland has agreed to accept before Christmas.

Enda Kenny said the delay was not Ireland's fault alone, and that the target number would be reached before the end of the year.

He said: "Progress is at last beginning to be made. By the end of this year, it is expected Ireland will have accepted up to 400 people through the relocation pledge."

Enda Kenny's comments coincide with another rescue by the Irish navy, in which five refugees drowned.

The navy saved 118 people from a dingy in the Mediterranean this morning. Five people drowned as the raft sank.

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