A Catholic Bishop has likened the loss of innocent lives in the Mediterranean to the the Irish experience on 'coffin ships' during the time of the Great Famine.
The Bishop of Cloyne William Crean - who is also Chairman of Trócaire - says that we have an obligation to safeguard the rights of migrants fleeing persecution.
Bishop Crean welcomed the humanitarian response of the Irish Naval Service, but he said he has grave concerns that not enough is being doing to punish the traffickers at the centre of this crisis.
He said: "It has echoes of our own personal history of people who fled these lands in what were known as coffin ships seeking a better life.
"Those who are organising these shipments of people seem to be able to do so without any penalty of any kind and some significant intervention at that level seems, to me, is necessary."