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Naval personnel to be awarded medal for rescuing migrants in Mediterranean

Irish naval personnel who have helped save the lives of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea are to be given a medal.

Defence Minister Paul Kehoe made the announcement during a visit to Cagliari in Sardinia where he met crew from the LE James Joyce who have been assisting the Italian authorities with the ongoing crisis

Irish naval vessels have rescued some 11,500 migrants so far as part of Operation Pontus.

The minister said those who have taken part in the humanitarian mission should be recognised for their "outstanding role".

The Defence Forces International Operational Service Medal will be presented during a ceremony in Rosslare late next month.

Mr Kehoe added: "Those who serve the State in these important humanitarian missions will receive a recognition which is deserving of the contribution which they have made."

The minister also thanked the families and partners of naval personnel. They were often the "unsung heroes of such missions," he said.

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