Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuinness has defended her decision to vote against a resolution to step up search and rescue efforts in the Mediterranean Sea, saying it would have "allowed traffickers to take control of the waters".

The Vice-President of the European Parliament said the four Fine Gael MEPs, who all voted no, had concerns about a measure contained in the resolution relating to the sharing of intelligence.

Speaking to RTÉ News, Ms McGuinness said the provision would have required Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, "to share information with all ships in the region, including traffickers".

Ms McGuinness said that would not have been acceptable and said if the resolution had been passed, it would have "made the situation worse".

"We had concerns about the actual content of it, not about the objective," she added.

Ms McGuinness said she "will not allow anyone challenge my ethics or morality around saving lives" and she insisted the parliament "will revisit this issue again" very shortly.

She also claimed the matter is being politicised.

The motion called on the European Commission to develop a more permanent approach to migrant rescue, replacing what it says are "ad hoc solutions".

It says member states should do more to step up efforts to enhance search and rescue operations including restrictions on NGO vessels entering ports.  

It also calls on the EU Council to put in place fair and sustainable plans to distribute migrants who have been rescued at sea across EU member states. 

However, the most contentious aspect of the resolution was its proposals relating to Frontex. 

The resolution called on the agency to "significantly enhance the information available about its operational activities at sea and to make accurate and comprehensive information publicly available as regards its activities at sea, while acknowledging its legal obligation not to reveal operational information which would jeopardise attainment of the objectives of operations". 

Maria Walsh was elected as a MEP for Midlands-North-West in May

Earlier fellow Fine Gael MEP Maria Walsh also defended her decision to vote against the resolution, which was lost by two votes, saying it would aid human traffickers and put people at risk.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Ms Walsh said the resolution was loose in language, not legally binding and put the vital work NGOs do at risk.

The MEP for Midlands-North-West said that sharing information about "our most vulnerable when they are most at risk is not the way to do it".

Ms Walsh said that it is "morally right" and legally our duty to save our most vulnerable, but the resolution had a number of red flags. 

She said it would still remain the case that all vessels that come into contact with individuals must assist them.

"We have to go back to the drawing board and have to find a solution that works for all," she added. 

Speaking on the same programme, the Vice President of the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament Claude Moraes criticised the failure of the EPP to support the vote. 

Mr Moraes, a British Labour Party MEP for London, said he was very sad that the EPP, "the so-called centre right party and biggest political group" in the Parliament "teamed up in essence with the far right" and chose not to vote for the resolution.

He said he had expert knowledge of the issue as chair of the European Parliament civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee and did not believe the reasons given by the EPP for not voting for it.