The Government is resisting calls to recall the Dáil from the summer recess to discuss the crisis in Gaza, accusing the opposition of using the issue as a "political football".
Consideration is being given to allow the Seanad to sit this week to allow the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan, to address the House following calls from both Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil for a parliamentary debate on Ireland’s position.
The Minister for European Affairs, Dara Murphy, has defended the Government’s decision to abstain from last week’s UN vote to investigate allegations of Israeli war crimes in Gaza.
“This was a European Union position; Ireland did not abstain on its own,” he said, adding that the EU can take a strong role in forcing a solution to the problem through negotiation.
“The emphasis from the EU was that they didn’t feel that the establishment of an inquiry at this point in time was a priority. The priority was to let the existing groups to continue to try to broker the ceasefire,” he said. The Sinn Féin leader, Gerry Adams, described the abstention as “incomprehensible” and said it did not represent the feelings of the Irish people.
Speaking on RTÉ radio, Mr Adams said: “Sometimes we Irish have an exaggerated sense of our place in the world. But really, those people in the Middle East do respect Ireland because of our colonial past... and also because of our recent and ongoing peace process.”
“Even the very fact that the Dáil would be recalled would make news in that region which would be positive for those who are trying to make the peace,” he said.
Mr Murphy said the conflict was debated by TDs two weeks ago: “I don’t see the point or the purpose of recalling the Dáil. We had this last summer as well, there were calls on a different issue. And I hope in such a very serious situation that we have, that people aren’t using this as some sort of political football to advance their own political ambitions,” he said.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved