‘Our Naval Service Is Part Of It’


At Tripoli’s Triq al Sikka detention centre in Libya

Irish journalist Sally Hayden yesterday reported that up to 30 refugees and migrants at Tripoli’s Triq al Sikka detention centre in Libya were tortured after they broke out and held a protest.

Just last week, Ms Hayden was named in the Senate by Sinn Féin TD Paul Gavan when he recalled a recent TV report she did for Channel 4.

Mr Gavan told the Senate:

The film actually showed Eritreans being tortured, having hot molten plastic put on their backs, and having concrete blocks placed on their backs while they lay in chains on the floor screaming in pain.

The reason this is happening is because the pirates who have taken these guys, girls, women and children extort large sums of money from the families in Eritrea.

The horrible truth is that our Government is complicit in this happening because, through the permanent structured co-operation, PESCO, rather than rescue migrants and bring them to safe havens, now the PESCO forces, including our Naval Service, hand them over to the Libyan coastguard, which is the equivalent of handing these people over to pirates.

The Libyan authorities, in turn, sell them as human commodities to people traffickers and at that point the torture, degradation, rape and mutilation is an everyday occurrence. This has all been filmed and it was all shown on “Channel 4 News” on Monday night.

The most shameless disregard for human rights across the world is happening in the Mediterranean and, unfortunately, our Naval Service is part of it. We pay large sums of money to Libya to take care of the problems so that we do not have to see these people or worry about them and, in turn, they are sold, tortured, mutilated and killed.

I ask for a debate on the matter, Cathaoirleach, as a matter of urgency. It is time for people to stop their silence. Surely we should all be able to speak out against what is happening in Libya and against the role of our Naval Service in allowing it to happen.

Yesterday, Sally tweeted:



At the Thomas Davis Theatre in the Arts Bloc at Trinity College Dublin at 7pm…

Caoimhe Butterly and Sean Binder will discuss the struggles facing those seeking asylum on the edges of Europe.

Refugees in Libya ‘tortured’ for breaking out of detention centre (Sally Hayden, Al Jazeera)

17 thoughts on “‘Our Naval Service Is Part Of It’

  1. Joe Small

    I don’t believe Irish Naval Service is handing refugees over to the Libyan Coastguard. If you re-read the story above, there’s a convoluted non-linear, illogical threat between torture and the Irish Defence Forces that doesn’t add up. Very disappointing and sloppy stuff.

    This is the moral equivalent of holding the Gardaí morally responsible to the trafficking of women for sexual exploitation.

    1. phil

      Maybe so , but as we are part of the EU , I believe the News piece suggested that the EU provided funding and ‘training’ and equipment (old naval boats) to the Libyans to pluck migrants from the sea and them detain them.

      Its working , numbers arriving in Europe is down…

      So what do you think ? Me, I think its despicable. Its almost akin to Dublin supporting torture by paying someone else to ‘Sort the problem’ while people down in Kerry saying that Dublin’s decisions on how they spend their budget (a budget ppl of Kerry pay into ) has nothing to do with them ….

    2. steve white

      yes as far as I know Irish Navy has not handed any refugees over to Libyan coast guard don’t know what this has to do with PESCO. Gavan over claiming again

      1. steve white

        Paul Kehoe “Irish Naval Service vessels participating in Operation Sophia have to date docked a total of eight times in Italian ports. On seven occasions the ships docked for the purpose of refuelling and replenishing and on one occasion, in 2017, L.E. Niamh docked for the purpose of disembarking 294 migrants ashore.In the case of other migrants rescued as part of L.É. Niamh’s 2017 deployment, these were transferred for disembarkation on to Italian Coastguard vessels or to another Operation Sophia vessel for disembarkation at an Italian port.” https://www.kildarestreet.com/wrans/?id=2018-06-14a.110&s=italian+port#g111.q any evidence to the contrary?

  2. Frilly Keane

    This was promoted by C4 news ( I think) last week

    I can’t think of the last time I was this disturbed by a news item or the footage that accompanied it

    But then
    I’m notoriously squeemish on stuff like this
    And probably explains my zero tolerance for the anties n’ what have yas

  3. Friscondo

    Those who bear responsibility are Hilary Clinton, Cameron and Macron. They destabilised a country that had many faults, but was not the hellhole of torture chambers and slave markets that it is today. “Liberal” Clinton supporters should be made watch the horrific footage coming out of this broken country, and reflect on what a truly evil person she is. The Syrian and Iraqi people have been made to similarly suffer under this US/Israeli/British/French regime change madness. The refugee crisis, ISIS and rise of the far right in Europe are some of the tangible results. We will all long regret their grandiose, callous agenda. We now live in a world where there are worse things than brutal dictatorships. It’s become a cliche to say the Libyan, Syrian and Iraqi people would gladly turn the clock back to a time before their countries were destroyed and over a million of their people were slaughtered. This isn’t about the Irish Naval Service.

    1. Frilly Keane

      Great post
      Haven’t seen ya about much lately

      But then neither am I
      Maybe we just didn’t bump inta each other

    2. Zaccone

      +1. The Americans are a big fan of the “you break it” part of regime change, not so much the “you bought it, now fix it”.

      The treatment of migrants in Libya is horrendous, but until a a more organized country (Egypt or Morocco most likely) agrees to host refugee centers theres no way of stopping the migrant traffic through there. Adopting an “open door” policy isn’t viable for Europe or for the refugees themselves – it will just encourage millions more to make the arduous journey and end up in the hands of traffickers.

    3. f_lawless

      Clinton did her best to push for war, but the buck stopped with Obama. It was he who showed contempt for democracy and the US constitution by authorising war without first seeking Congressional approval

      1. bisted

        + Friscondo…the world dodged a bullet when crooked Hillary didn’t get her finger on the button…

        1. Frilly Keane

          I swallow that bullet everyday

          Perfectly happy t’ admit I was wrong
          On so many counts
          With this ‘wan

          I was warned


  4. Junkface

    Oh God! This is awful, sometimes you need a break from the most horrible news stories. We are currently overloaded.

  5. eoin

    Great news, Libya is now producing 1.2m barrels of oil a day. At $60 a barrel, that’s $70 million a day coming into the Libyan economy, not bad at all for a county with a population of 4.5 million. Guess who’s getting nearly alll the money though? Step forward (mostly) US and UK oil, engineering and security companies.

    You won’t see C4 reporting on that scandal. If Sally turned up in the south of the country asking questions, she’d get the same response Veronica Guerin got from Gilligan.


    Also, there’s no war in Eritrea. It’s a poohole of a country for sure, like Saudi Arabia minus the wealth. Eritreans are therefore migrants rather than refugees.

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