Coveney should initiate EU response to Gaza tragedy

Issued 2 April 2018

Labour Party Leader and Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Brendan Howlin TD, has supported the call of the UN Secretary General for an investigation into the death of a dozen or more Palestinian protestors on Friday last.

However, the Labour Leader criticised the response of the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney, to the tragedy.

Deputy Howlin said:

“I support the call of the UN Secretary General for an independent probe. It is important to get to the bottom of claim and counter claim. There is one bottom line though. There are people dead and hundreds injured on one side of a protest and little or no impact on the other side.

“There appears to be no basis on which the response of the IDF can be considered proportionate. This cannot be in anybody’s interest, including that of Israel.

“The Tánaiste’s remarks are passive and naïve. He talks of an European Union response as if he didn’t sit around the table as member of the EU Council. What has he done since Friday to gauge a possible EU response?

“Referencing the United States of America as part of any prospect solution here is naïve. He knows well who the prospective nominee to the position of Secretary State is. The days of John Kerry seeking to act as an honest broker here are gone. Mr Trump’s only role here to date has been exacerbate tensions, not seek to resolve them.

“Minister Coveney should be conveying Ireland’s views on that to the Israeli ambassador here and with his colleagues at the EU Council.”