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.”


@FiannaFailparty Calls for Emergency EU Foreign Affairs Council to Address Escalating Crisis in #MiddleEast

Brendan Smith TD

Brendan Smith TD

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs & Trade Brendan Smith has called on the Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade Eamon Gilmore to seek an emergency meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council to address the escalating crisis between Palestine and Israel. While Fianna Fáil welcomed the EU call for all sides to exercise maximum restraint to avoid casualties and to do their utmost to achieve an immediate ceasefire, it is clear that more needs to be done to create a pathway to peace.

Deputy Smith stated: “We are now witnessing a daily escalation of atrocities. Retaliation will only result in further retaliation. Innocent people on both sides are being killed and injured, and these casualties will only breed more hatred.

Deputy Smith continued: “Now is the time for the European Union to show leadership in finding a path for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. I am calling on Minister Gilmore to seek an emergency meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council to find a way to guide both sides away from conflict and secure an immediate ceasefire.

“This is an issue Fianna Fáil has consistently raised in Dáil Éireann and there is a need for the Minister for Foreign Affairs to highlight this ongoing conflict at a European and international level”.

“Time for Unionists and both governments to live up to their responsibilities” – Smith

Note: This press release was originally issued on Fri July 4th


Irish and British Governments must have a hands-on approach to the peace process

Commenting on the withdrawal of the DUP and UUP from the political talks on parades, flags and the past Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Foreign Affairs Brendan Smith stated that “Unionists are avoiding their responsibilities as elected officials and undermining the rule of law”. He further added that it underscored the need for the Irish and British Governments to “roll up their sleeves and have a hands-on approach to the issues that are impeding further progress in building on the peace process”.

Deputy Smith said, “The lack of initial engagement by the DUP in the political talks did not bode well for a successful outcome. However the complete withdrawal by both Unionist parties on the grounds of a Parades Commission decision is a disgraceful failure of elected politicians to live up to their responsibilities. This type of reckless action only adds to tension within communities during this volatile period.

“The collapse of the talks only a day after starting and postponement of the North South meeting is a bitter disappointment to those of us who want to see progress in the stalled peace process. It should act as a firm wake up call to the Irish and British governments who have been sleeping on the job as co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement. It’s time for them to roll up their selves and have hands on approach to reviving the Haass talks.

“The marching season can be a turbulent time in Northern Ireland and the prospect of heightened tension and widespread disruption damages the image that Northern Ireland is trying to achieve globally, that of a successful, prosperous and welcoming area. The images of Ku Klux Klan flags and politicians undermining the legal decision by an independent Parades Body is a reminder that we cannot allow the very welcome progress of the past 16 years to be eroded. The Haass proposals must be brought to a successful conclusion. The two sovereign governments need to drive this process and all political parties involved in the talks honour their responsibilities”, Deputy Smith concluded.

Issued on July 4th 2014.