Amnesty International is warning that 2017 will be the deadliest year yet for the world's most lethal migration route.
It says the abuses faced by thousands of refugees fleeing Libyan detention centres are clearly linked to 'failing EU policies'.
Dr Conor Kenny from Sligo has spent the past three months on board the rescue ship Aquarius in the Mediterranean - working with Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).
"People are fleeing poverty, they are fleeing violence," said Dr Kenny.
"For them to make the decision to go in these rubber boats, many of them are aware of the risks that are involved but many of them say they would rather die at sea then spend any more time in Lybia."