Category Archives: NEWS & MEDIA

@FiannaFailParty Condemns Latest Settlement Plans by #Israel

FF Condemn Latest Settlement Plans by Israel

Brendan Smith TD in Dáil Éireann

Brendan Smith TD in Dáil Éireann

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Brendan Smith TD, has condemned the latest settlement plans by Israel to claim almost 1,000 acres near Bethlehem in the West Bank.
Deputy Smith believes the latest move will serve to undermine the recently declared fragile peace between Israel and Palestine.

“The latest actions by the Israeli Government threaten the peace which was recently agreed between Israel and Hamas and will only further escalate already heightened tensions in the region. Not only is this move ill-advised in the circumstances, it is also contrary to international law. These actions will further undermine the possibility of a two state solution in the Middle East.

“These actions are totally unacceptable. It is time for the EU to send a clear message to Israel that we will not tolerate further settlement advancement. The often promised labelling requirements both at EU and at national level for products from Israeli settlement areas and other sanctions against these goods must be implemented across the Union now.”

 

ENDS

Statement issued Sept 1st 2014

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#EU must Coordinate United Approach to Middle East Humanitarian Crisis

EU must Coordinate United Approach to Middle East Humanitarian Crisis – FF

Appointment of new High Representative for Foreign Affairs key in offering credible voice on international stage

brendan-smith
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Brendan Smith TD has stated that the European Union must coordinate its approach in seeking to address the horrific humanitarian crisis which is ongoing in Syria, Gaza and Iraq. The recently published UN Report showing that the number of Syrian refugees is now over 3 million people should spur a renewed effort from the EU in seeking to assist those who find themselves without a home as a result of the conflict there. The EU must also develop a Union wide response to the threat from the terrorist group Isis and ensure that all Member States are prepared and have a strategy to deal with the return of Islamic combatants to Europe.

Deputy Smith stated: “The news this week that the number of Syrian refugees has now gone beyond 3 million is shocking and shows the enormous crisis which is developing on Europe’s doorstep. This figure publish by the United Nations does not include hundreds of thousands of others who fled without registering as refugees. The conditions within the country now are increasingly horrifying and the UN report states that people are going hungry and civilians are being targeted or indiscriminately killed.”

“Similarly in Gaza, the recent conflict has displaced about a fourth of Gaza’s population. Nearly 60,000 people have lost their homes. The damage to infrastructure there is more severe than the destruction caused by either of the last two Gaza wars according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. Yet the humanitarian assistance required in Gaza has not materialised in a timely or effective way due to the unstable peace which has been declared. The EU must impress on the rest of the international community that they must honour their obligations and commitments to increase humanitarian assistance for the Middle East region.”

“Europe must provide a coordinated plan of humanitarian assistance to ensure that EU aid and foreign policy helps those who have been displaced and challenges those who have prolonged these conflicts. The EU too must be vigilant against the possible radicalisation of its citizens from returning combatants in the conflicts in Iraq and Syria. We must develop a comprehensive strategy to guard against the infiltration of Jihadists within our societies. The EU must take every action necessary to help those seeking to defeat the terrorist group known as Isis and protect our borders from their ideas and their people.”

“I would urge European leaders gathering at the weekend’s meeting of the European Council to agree as quickly as possible to the appointment of a new EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy who can provide a united European voice. The failure to appoint a new High Representative in July undermined the EU’s credibility on the international stage, especially at a time of such unrest in the world. Europe needs a strong voice now more than ever. This appointment must be made without delay.”
-Ends-

NOTE: This statement was issued on August 29th, 2014.

@FiannaFailparty condemns further violence in #Gaza and rising anti-semitism in Europe

Attacks on Gaza

Attacks on Gaza

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Brendan Smith TD, has condemned the resumption of violence in Gaza following failed negotiations to extend the original humanitarian ceasefire between Hamas and Israel.

Deputy Smith also strongly criticised the large number of rockets which were fired from Gaza towards Israel after a 72-hour ceasefire expired at 8am local time.

“Over the past number of weeks the Fianna Fáil Party have strongly and consistently condemned the actions of the Israeli Defence Forces in their attacks on innocent people in Gaza resulting in huge loss of life and suffering for so many. Fianna Fáil have always advocated for the lifting of the blockade on Gaza and a full return to peaceful negotiations with the aim of establishing a two-state solution based on pre-1967 borders. In recent weeks, the world has witnessed the slaughter of innocent people in Gaza and a new low was reached when UN schools and refugee centres were attacked by Israeli forces.

“There is a need for peace, not a resumption of violence. This is very tragic news coming from Gaza today and begins another period of attacks which will result in the killing of innocent civilians from both sides of the conflict. I condemn in the strongest terms the rockets fired at Israeli targets ending the humanitarian ceasefire which began three days ago.

“The Irish Government and the European Union must seek to influence both Israel and Hamas in exercising restraint. In particular, schools and refugee camps run by the United Nations must not be targeted in any way. The international community must raise its voice in objection to any such attacks by either side in this conflict. Work must also continue by those who can initiate a pathway to peace to build on the discussions already begun in Egypt.

“I along with many Irish citizens will be taking part in anti-war demonstrations across Ireland at the weekend. Ireland has had a long interest in the challenges in the Middle East and has always acted out of experience from our own troubled history and out of an over-riding respect for and belief in human rights for all people across the world. Successive Fianna Fáil Minsters for Foreign Affairs have consistently spoken out in favour of a peaceful, equitable and a fair and lasting settlement in the Middle-East. We have always championed the causes of oppressed countries in the world at the United Nations and in other international fora.

“The world, and in particular Europe, must ensure that the current conflict in the Middle East does not result in any anti-Semitic behaviour occurring in our countries. There have been some very disturbing reports of rising anti-Semitic behaviour in Europe. All right thinking people deplore anti-Semitism. It must not be tolerated in any of its forms in society. Let the message go out from Ireland that we are for peace, human rights and equality in the Middle East. We are not a country engaged in anti-Semitic behaviour and any suggestion of same could only be seen for the outrageous comment that it is.”

-ENDS-

This statement was issued on Friday August 8th and also appears on the Fianna Fáil website:    http://www.fiannafail.ie/news/entry/11481/

Ireland’s Abstention on Gaza Vote at UN is a: ‘Dereliction of Proud History in Foreign Affairs’

Attacks on Gaza

Attacks on Gaza

In a joint statement, Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin TD and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Brendan Smith TD have criticised Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan’s decision that Ireland should abstain from a UN Human Rights Council resolution to set up a commission of inquiry into atrocities in Gaza.

They commented:

“Like many people across the country, we listened in disbelief to the news that Ireland had joined other European states in abstaining from the vote at the UN Human Rights Council. What is happening in Gaza is an outrage and it is happening in plain sight.”

“If the international community is not able to find the moral courage to speak out on an issue which is as clearly unacceptable as the killing of young children or the bombing of a UN school housing refugees, one is left to wonder what level of atrocity is needed before we say stop.”

“The attempt to justify our abstention on the basis that the resolution did not adequately condemn rocket attacks by both sides is depressing. We utterly condemn the reckless attempt to target civilians using rocket attacks, but does that mean that we cannot also put our name to a resolution to investigate the slaughter of four innocent children on a Gaza beach?”

“Ireland once had a proud tradition of strong, principled and independent foreign affairs policy. The decision to sit on our hands and abstain from what should have been a very clear position on this UN resolution is a dereliction of this country’s proud history in foreign and humanitarian affairs.”

-ENDS-

@UN Should be Deployed to Secure #UkraineCrash Scene

“I am calling for UN troops to be sent to the site of the Malaysian Airways crash to secure the evidence necessary in order to establish the truth of what happened to this plane”

Fianna Fáil Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Brendan Smith TD has said that UN troops should be deployed to secure the scene of the Malaysian Airways crash scene immediately to preserve evidence and facilitate a full investigation. He stated that if this tragedy is proven to have been caused by a missile strike, it would represent a crime against the international community.

Deputy Smith commented: “The scenes from eastern Ukraine are deeply shocking for many people. As families across our country prepare to travel for foreign holidays, the images emerging of families in Holland, Malaysia and elsewhere devastated by this terrible event have added a sense of horror.

“I am calling for UN troops to be sent to the site of the Malaysian Airways crash to secure the evidence necessary in order to establish the truth of what happened to this plane. The international community is entitled to know how it is possible that a modern commercial aircraft was shot out of the sky over European airspace. If this was a missile attack, we must establish who the perpetrators were. Only UN troops will have the confidence of the international community to secure this site.”

Joint Statement from FF Leader and FF Chairman on Gaza Hostilities

What is happening in Gaza is disproportionate and irresponsible…  It is immoral and wrong

Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin TD and Party Chairman and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Brendan Smith TD have jointly called on the Taoiseach to bring the Israeli Ambassador to Government Buildings today to express this country’s revulsion at events in Gaza and to make clear Ireland’s rejection of the tactics being deployed by the Israeli Defence Forces.

In a joint statement, the two Fianna Fáil deputies commented: “Fianna Fáil has always accepted Israel’s right to self-defence, but like any other nation Israel has a duty to abide by internationally accepted standards of proportionality and responsibility.

“What is happening in Gaza is disproportionate and irresponsible.  Completely innocent men, women and children who are already forced to live in squalor are being slaughtered in this campaign.  It is immoral and wrong.

“The Hamas regime’s rocket attacks against Israel are also completely reckless, irresponsible and counter-productive.  However, the tactics being employed by IDF and the Israeli Government serve only to further brutalise the people of Gaza.

“In the past, Ireland was able to play a constructive role in helping shape international opinion.  When we visited Gaza in 2010, we were the first European state to do so in more than a year and we were able to focus international opinion on the devastating effect that the blockade was having at that time.

“Ireland simply must do more to help influence international opinion on what is currently happening.  As a nation we know better than many the despair and waste of pointless brutality and sectarian violence.  As the beneficiaries of international support for our own peace process, Ireland has a moral duty to find our voice and use it to oppose the pointless slaughter in Gaza.

“As a first step and as a bare minimum, we are calling on the Taoiseach as Head of Government to bring the Israeli Ambassador to Government Buildings and explain in clear terms that Ireland rejects what his country is doing in Gaza.  Equally, if Israel pulls back from the brink and is prepared for peace, Ireland will be a strong supporter of any process that gives the people of Israel and Palestine a chance of a decent future.”

I welcome Mary Robinson’s appointment as UN Special Envoy for Climate Change

brendan-smith

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs Brendan Smith TD has welcomed the appointment of the former President of Ireland Mary Robinson as UN Special Envoy for Climate Change.

Deputy Smith has said: “Mary Robinson has huge passion and commitment to tackling climate change and has spent many years trying to drive real reform on this issue internationally. Fianna Fáil wishes Ms Robinson well in her new role and is urging the Government to take a leadership role within the European Union in addressing climate change.

“We are committed to an ambitious environmental programme which includes tackling climate change and published the Climate Change Response Bill in 2010 which sets out our commitment to legislating for a process that allows us to plan for greenhouse emissions reduction and adaptation to climate change. Fianna Fáil believes this must be done in a way that safeguards economic development and competitiveness. The legislation had an ambitious framework of targets up to 2050 which unfortunately this Government reneged on.

“The implementation of policies to tackle climate change must ensure the safeguarding of sustainable food production systems, which are vitally important in the fight against hunger and malnutrition.

“Ireland should be consistent with EU targets and we have consistently supported the international process under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. A major change in our approach to climate change policy is a new national priority on carbon transition. We are no longer solely focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. While they are important indicators of progress, we must also have a longer term and wider vision for creating a prosperous, sustainable Ireland.

“I welcome the focus UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon has brought to the issue of climate change. There will be a lot of work for Mary Robinson to take on early given that there is a high-level climate summit in New York in late-September but I know she will bring a new focus to the role for determined and meaningful action on a global level.”