Several hundred refugees may have drowned in the Mediterranean, Italian President Sergio Mattarella stated today.
RTE reported that unconfirmed reports have suggested that up to 400 refugees could have drowned near the Egyptian coast as they attempted to enter Europe.
Mr Mattarella said Europe needed to look upon “yet another tragedy in the Mediterranean in which, it seems, several hundred people have died”.
However the Italian coastguard said earlier they knew were unaware of the reported mass drownings.
Oxfam has accused the EU of turning its back on refugees on the first anniversary of the death of 800 migrants off Lampedusa.
Scores of Irish volunteers have based themselves in Mediterranean countries to try to help those in need during this, the biggest movement of people since World War Two.