Irish Navy to step up operations in Mediterranean

The Irish Navy is to step up its work in the Mediterranean in an effort to clamp down on human trafficking.

The Cabinet today approved Ireland's participation in what is known as Operation Sophia.

It means an expansion of the Navy's duties - up to now the had just focused on removing refugees from open water.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said it is a vote of confidence in how Ireland values its Defence Forces.

"I think that's testament and evidence that the Government is committed to our Defence Forces, the fact that we are approving these additional operations and resource from the Defence Forces in order to do so,

"It will, of course, happen under the triple-lock, so Government approval today, UN mandate in place, and we'll be asking the Dáil tomorrow to approve that motion."

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