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Sunday, June 6, 2010

The illegal blockade on Gaza must end


A rally was held in Waterford City on Saturday in solidarity with International Aid workers trying to get much needed supplies to the people of Gaza. The rally was organised by the Irish Palestinian Solidarity Committee and the Waterford Council of Trade Unions. I addressed the rally on behalf of Sinn Féin. The rally was also addressed by Mr. Tom Hogan President of the WCTU, Mr. Tom Curran ISPC, Cllr John Halligan Mayor of Waterford, Cllr Seamus Ryan Labour Party and Cllr Davy Walsh Workers Party. All councillors present vowed to support an emergency motion that I will table at a meeting of Waterford City Council next week calling for an end to the illegal blockade of Gaza, for the expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland and for a new International Aid mission to help the long suffering people of Gaza.

We gathered in solidarity with dozens of International Aid workers trying to get much needed supplies to the people of Gaza. We also gathered in solidarity with the long suffering people of Gaza. Only a few short hours before the rally and in defiance of International opinion, Israeli forces boarded the Irish humanitarian aid ship the Rachel Corrie. No report of injuries has been made of yet but communications with the crew or passengers has not been possible. I reiterated the demand that the Rachel Corrie be allowed to proceed to Gaza with its cargo of aid consisting of cement, school supplies, wheelchairs and other much needed items. Israel must immediately release all passengers and crew. The illegal blockade of Gaza which is causing a humanitarian crisis must be lifted immediately. The Irish Government must act now and should expel the Israeli Ambassador which will give effect to the all- party motion which was passed in the Dáil on Tuesday this week. That motion said there would be diplomatic consequences if the passage of the Rachel Corrie was interfered with.

Next week I will table an emergency motion condemning the killing of humanitarian aid workers in International waters, calling for the ending of the illegal blockade of Gaza, for the immediate expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland and for a new International aid mission to assist the long suffering people of Gaza. The motion will be supported by the Mayor of Waterford Cllr John Halligan, councilors from the Labour Party, the Workers Party and other independents. I am hopeful the motion will be passed as a clear message needs to be sent on behalf of the people of Waterford that such actions carried out by Israel cannot go unpunished.

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