Ireland will begin efforts in earnest today to tackle the Mediterranean migrant crisis - as one of our naval vessels sets sail on a search-and-rescue mission.
The L.E.Eithne will leave Cork bound for the waters between Africa and Europe, where thousands of migrants have already drowned attempting to flee war-torn countries.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister for Defence Simon Coveney met with the 68 Irish sailors and two army medics on board the naval vessel this morning, before its departure.
It has been two weeks since the crew of the L.E. Eithne were told to prepare for the Mediterranean.
So far this year almost 2,000 people have drowned, in the waters of the Mediterranean between Africa and Europe.
The EU has promised to clamp down on people-smugglers who are running a lucrative business out of dangerously overcrowded boats.
They are also promising to step up rescue efforts.
However the advent of summer has brought calmer water conditions and with them an increase in the numbers willing to attempt the perilous journey.