Tuesday 12 December 2017

Seanad to be recalled from holidays over Gaza

The Seanad is to be recalled from holidays to debate the escalating crisis in Gaza.

It is expected that the Upper House will convene on either Wednesday or Thursday.

Maurice Cummins, Fine Gael's leader in the Seanad said it will sit as soon as possible and it is expected that Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan will debate with Senators.

However, the move to recall the house has angered some within Fine Gael who have dismissed the calls to come back early as a political stunt.

"What can they do about this other than yap about it," said one Fine Gael source.

The move to bring Mr Flanagan into the chamber is seen as an opportunity to seize the agenda back from the opposition. The recall comes on foot of pressure from a group of opposition Senators.

Independent Senator David Norris initially tabled a motion for recall last week and the demands for reconvening are also coming from Fianna Fáil, Independents and some Labour senators. Despite the move, the Government has rejected opposition calls to reconvene the Dail because of the crisis in Gaza as "unnecessary".


The rejection comes as Independent Dublin MEP, Nessa Childers, has severely criticised the Government's response to the violence.

Ms Childers was particularly critical of her former party, Labour, in the wake of Ireland's abstention last week on a United Nations resolution vote.

"Where is the Labour Party? If they agree with Fine Gael, then why all these 
statements from Labour TDs voicing concern. Statements are not enough, we need action. I totally agree with the calls 
for the Dail to be recalled," she said.

Ms Childers said the decision not to support the United Nations resolution which called for the establishment of a committee of inquiry into this latest wave of violence, was "appalling".

In response, the Labour Party reiterated its strong support for the Palestinian people, and especially the beleaguered civilian population of Gaza.

It emphasised the Government's consistent position that all violence in Gaza and Israel must end immediately.


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