Holly Cairns new

The Social Democrats will introduce a Dáil motion next week (Wednesday, January 24) calling on the Irish Government to support South Africa’s case against Israel under the Genocide Convention in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Party leader Holly Cairns said:

“We cannot stand idly by while the daily slaughter of innocent civilians in Gaza continues.

“Since Israel began its military operations three months ago, nearly 100,000 Palestinians have been killed, reported missing or wounded in Gaza. Almost 25,000 people have now been confirmed dead, two thirds of whom are women and children.

“As far back as November, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared that nowhere and no one is safe in Gaza. Israel missiles have targeted schools, universities, hospitals, UN facilities, refugee camps, places of worship and critical infrastructure.

“To date, 85 per cent of the population have been displaced – mostly to areas that have faced repeated bombardment by Israel. Contagious disease is now rampant among these nearly two million displaced people, while the healthcare system has collapsed.

“Israel’s blockade of Gaza – and its refusal to allow essential supplies like food, water and medical supplies to be dispersed – have caused a man-made public health disaster and famine, with 80 per cent of the world’s hungriest people now in Gaza.

“Not even the heinous October 7 attack by Hamas on Israel, and the taking of hostages, can ever justify, or provide a defence to, breaches of the Genocide Convention.

“Under Article 1 of the Genocide Convention – which Ireland ratified in 1976 – parties to the convention have an obligation to take measures to prevent genocide.

“Ireland has previously acted on this obligation, filing an intervention in support of a case taken by Ukraine against Russia under the Genocide Convention in 2022.

“This makes the Government’s reluctance to unequivocally support South Africa’s case in the ICJ all the more difficult to understand.

“The Tánaiste has indicated that the Government will await a ruling by the ICJ in relation to provisional measures before considering if Ireland should intervene in the case.

“However, the people of Gaza do not have the luxury of time. While the Irish State awaits a decision by the court, which will be followed by a period of analysis and consultation by the Government, an average of 250 Palestinians are being killed every day.

“At a time when most of the Western world remains silent about Israel’s atrocities, Ireland must not just find its voice – but follow its condemnatory words with action.

“Ireland must take its obligations under the Genocide Convention seriously and support South Africa’s ICJ case as a matter of urgency and at the earliest possible opportunity.”

Note: full text of Soc Dems’ motion here

January 19, 2024

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