Dáil suspended after protesters disrupt statements on Palestine

The Dáil was suspended after protesters inside the chamber interrupted statements about Palestine to call for sanctions to be imposed on Israel.

The group of protesters, who were sitting in the public gallery, stood up and chanted pro-Palestinian messages.

It came as politicians were making statements in the Dáil following Ireland’s formal recognition of the Palestinian state.

One man held a sign that said “divest,” while another person carried a Palestinian flag.

Protesters chanted “stop arming Israel,” “sanctions now” and “shut down Shannon (airport) to the US military.”

Leinster House security staff cleared around nine protesters waving the Palestinian flag and called for immediate sanctions against Israel.

Protesters spent a few minutes chanting at politicians who had gathered in the Dáil to make statements in support of Palestine and condemning the ongoing attacks in Gaza.

Several Palestinians were also watching from the public gallery, including the Palestinian ambassador to Ireland, Dr. Jilan Wahba Abdalmajid. They did not participate in the brief demonstration.

Earlier, Taoiseach Simon Harris said all countries and the European Union have a responsibility to “use every lever at our disposal” to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza.

Speaking to parliament as Ireland formally recognizes the State of Palestine, Harris said: “I welcome the decision of the Belgian presidency to convene a meeting on the EU-Israel Association Agreement.

“The human rights clauses in that agreement are and must be significant and, when they are not met, that must also have consequences.

“We need to consider all the levers at our disposal to achieve a cessation of violence before Netanyahu’s next tragic mistake.

“The formal recognition of the State of Palestine here today is an act of great political and symbolic value. I hope it sends a message of hope to the Palestinian people that in this, their darkest moment, Ireland will be at their side.

Conflict between Israel and Hamas
Members of the public take photographs as the Palestinian flag flies outside Leinster House in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

“It is an expression of our view that Palestine possesses and should be able to claim all the rights of the State, including self-determination, self-government, territorial integrity and security, as well as recognizing Palestine’s own obligations under international law.”

Harris said generations of Palestinians have endured occupation, dehumanization and humiliation.

“In today’s West Bank we see an extreme form of Zionism fueling settler violence and land grabs, illegal actions that go largely unchecked,” he added.

Tánaiste Micheál Martin said he is confident that other European countries will join Ireland, Norway and Spain in their recognition of the State of Palestine.

“I have long considered that recognition of Palestine would have greater impact if done in a coordinated manner with other partners,” Martin told the Dáil.

“It is important that we have made the decision to recognize the State of Palestine together with Norway and Spain – and in the broader context of a regional peace initiative.

“I am confident that there is a growing consensus among like-minded partners that the Palestinian state can no longer wait until the end of a negotiation process for a final agreement between the parties.

“I anticipate that other European partners could decide to recognize Palestine in the coming weeks and months.

“The challenge now is to maintain this momentum. We need a fundamental paradigm shift in the way all of us in the international community view the solution to this conflict. We need urgency and we need concrete measures.

“We have said many times that an immediate ceasefire, the unconditional release of the hostages and full, safe and unimpeded humanitarian access are essential. That remains essential and we will not rest until we achieve it.”

Martin also criticized the Israeli government’s reaction to Ireland’s decision to recognize the Palestinian state.

Last week, Ambassador Sonya McGuinness was summoned to the Israeli Foreign Ministry and reprimanded over Ireland’s decision.

As proceedings began, Ms McGuinness was shown Hamas footage that Israel says was filmed on October 7.

Martin said the treatment of McGuinness “fell far below what we would expect from any country, regardless of our political differences.”

“I have treated and will continue to treat the Israeli ambassador to Ireland with professional courtesy and respect. I expect the same in return. “We wish to maintain a functional diplomatic engagement and dialogue with Israel,” he added.

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said he shares the Jewish community’s frustration at the “one-sided approach” some people are taking to the Middle East conflict.

“Let me also reiterate to Israel: the Irish people recognize your rights to exist as a nation, recognizing Palestine does not in any way diminish your rights as a State, in fact it is quite the opposite,” he said.

“Our greatest wish is that the establishment of a Palestinian state solidifies its existence and allows it to prosper and flourish in peace and harmony with its neighbors.

“In particular, I want to offer reassurance to Jewish friends living here in Ireland: the last seven months have not been easy and many may feel that there is a change in attitude towards them or towards people of their faith.

“We need to reassure them that they are welcome here, that they belong here, that they are as Irish as all of us.

“Long may Ireland be a home to the Jewish people so that they may continue their outstanding contribution to our nation in art, science, business and politics. This house has benefited greatly from the people of our Jewish community.

“I share your frustration with the unilateral approach that some people take to the conflict. That some seem to think that the Israeli government’s atrocious actions mean they can remain silent in the face of Hamas’s atrocities… I don’t think so.”

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said Palestinians in Gaza are enduring “horror on an unimaginable scale”.

Ms McDonald told Ireland’s parliament that world leaders “continue to establish a false equivalence between the impoverished occupied and the oppressive occupier”.

He accused Israel of “blatantly and repeatedly violating” international law and added: “Palestine is a nation threatened by annihilation.”

The Dublin TD added: “The world was always going to face a moment of reckoning with Palestine, and as Israel continues its brutal attack on the refugee population of Gaza and launches horrific follies and attacks on Rafah, I think the time for settling accounts is now. .

“Recognition of the Palestinian state cannot be the end, it has to be only the beginning: a new starting point in the search for freedom and justice for the Palestinians.”

Labor’s Aodhan O Riordain said the EU can and should act further by suspending its trade deal with Israel.

He said: “The EU is Israel’s largest trading partner; 32% of Israel’s imports come from the EU and the Irish government can send an additional message of solidarity by passing the Occupied Territories Bill to ban any goods and services produced in Israeli-occupied settlements. in the West Bank.

“However, the reality is that there is a man with unparalleled influence in ending the disaster in Gaza. His name is Joe Biden and he has to do better.

“We know things about the peace processes in this country. We know that for there to be peace it must be based on the absence of violence.

“We know that if there has to be peace, there has to be compromise. We know that for there to be peace then one of the parties cannot absolutely win.”