Tánaiste dismisses calls to boycott Israel Eurovision

Calls for an Irish boycott of next year’s Eurovision being held in Israel have been dismissed by the Tánaiste.

Simon Coveney has told the Dáil that boycotting the annual song contest would not advance the Palestinian cause and “would polarise things even further”.

He added: “I’m not sure we can legally do that anyway because trade policy is the competence of the EU as a collective.”

Mr Coveney was responding to People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett who said that if Ireland was to be consistent in its “outrage and revulsion at abuse and barbaric treatment” of children, it should “at the very least” boycott next year’s Eurovision Song Contest being held in Tel Aviv “in order that we do not give legitimacy to a regime that treats children in such a barbaric fashion”.

Speaking during leaders’ questions, Sinn Féin deputy Dáil leader Pearse Doherty asked that the Government consider and implement proposals from the Central Bank in relation to white collar crime, following the sentencing of the former chief executive of Anglo Irish Bank, David Drumm.

Mr Doherty said: “The fact that just four people have been convicted for their roles in the banking crisis — 10 years after the events — is hardly a ringing endorsement of the justice system when it comes to tackling white collar crime.

“It continues to go unpunished, and is in many cases unpunishable, to this day.

“One of the reasons for the delay in securing the prosecution of Mr Drumm, we are told, is because of the scale and complexity of the case and the gardaí have said they require additional powers to investigate white collar crime.”

Responding, Mr Coveney said the Government’s job is to introduce legislation to ensure past mistakes are not repeated.

“We will listen to everybody who has a sensible contribution to make in that regard,” he said.

Separately, Health Minister Simon Harris, will today sign an international agreement aimed at securing affordable and timely access to new medicines for Irish patients. The deal will enable Ireland to improve long-term access to innovative drugs at affordable prices.

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