Protest calling for Eurovision boycott to take place at RTÉ today

Protest calling for Eurovision boycott to take place at RTÉ today

A protest will place outside RTÉ studios this afternoon calling for a boycott of the Eurovision.

The demonstration, organised by the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign, is being held over the song contest taking place in the Israeli capital of Tel Aviv.

The group will protest from 12.30pm saying they "do not want to be represented at an artwashing exercise in Apartheid Israel".

It said: "Sadly, despite overwhelming support from singers, musicians and other celebrities, public figures, human rights campaigners and members of the public, the national broadcaster RTÉ has refused to listen to the Palestinian call for Ireland not to take part in the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest.

"RTÉ say the event is ‘non political’, but every shred of evidence points to the contrary – Israel is overtly politicising the Eurovision, and is being allowed to do so by the EBU, and RTÉ."

Ahead of today's protest, the group said: "We have learned that whoever the Irish entrant is, they will perform before 500 soldiers from the Israeli occupation forces (who are getting free tickets); the show will broadcast propaganda showing illegal Israeli settlements in occupied territories; entrants will be hosted in a ‘village’ built on the ruins of a Palestinian area of Jaffa that whose residents were driven out in 1948 and who still cannot return; and that councils in illegal settlements are giving free accommodation to Eurovision fans as a way of promoting these entities which are war crimes under international law."

The Director-General of RTE, Dee Forbes, has previously said that any staff members who decline to travel to Israel to cover the event on conscientious grounds will not be sanctioned.

It was revealed this morning that Co Clare singer Sarah McTernan has been selected to represent Ireland at the event in May.

The 24-year-old, who came third in The Voice of Ireland in 2015, will sing a song called '22' at the second Eurovision Semi Final in Tel Aviv on May 16.

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