Smith calls on Minister to raise persecution of Christians at EU Foreign Affairs Council

– Ireland must condemn targeting of religious minorities –

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan and Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs, Trade & Defence Brendan Smith has called on the Minister for Foreign Affairs to ensure that the issue of the persecution of Christians is raised at the EU Foreign Affairs Council.

He made the call following an appearance by the Director of Church in Chains David Turner before the Oireachtas Committee earlier this year.

Deputy Brendan Smith commented, “The atrocities that are being committed against Christians and other religious groups in countries like India, Syria, Iran and China are deplorable and should be condemned in the strongest terms. These people are being subjected to barbaric and inhumane treatment and Ireland, alongside the international community, must play its part in denouncing these hateful crimes.

“I wrote to Minister Simon Coveney following Mr. Turner’s appearance before the Committee, asking him to raise this issue at the next EU Foreign Affairs Council, however the Minister informs me that there is no opportunity to do this, which is disappointing.

“Ireland has a responsibility as a member of the EU and the United Nations to speak out against this persecution and I am asking Minister Coveney to push for the inclusion of this important issue at the EU Foreign Affairs Council at the earliest possible opportunity.

“Minister Coveney says he may be able to raise this issue at the EU-India Human Rights Dialogue, and I am strongly urging him to include it for consideration on the agenda”.