Limerick senator secures Gaza debate at European Council

Limerick Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan

SINN Féin Senator Paul Gavan has secured a debate on Gaza at this week’s sitting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

The Castleconnell-based politician believes Thursday’s debate will be important in standing up for the people of Gaza.

He also sees it as a way to stand up for the independence of Ireland’s foreign policy in “the face of Ursula von der Leyen’s disgraceful attempts to run roughshod over our neutrality”.

Senator Gavan says he fought hard to secure the debate as the Human Rights Assembly, which sits just four times a year and had originally planned to exclude the topic from all discussion at the spring session in Strasbourg.

Senator Gavan, who is running in the upcoming EU Elections for Sinn Féin in Ireland South, welcomed the move by the Presidential Bureau of the Assembly.

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”When I discovered that Gaza had been excluded, I immediately wrote to the president of the Assembly and also asked the United European Left (UEL) to draft a proposal requesting a debate,” he said.

”I did so because I could not accept that the Assembly, knowing that genocide is taking place in Gaza, was going to spend a week discussing ‘human rights’ without even a mention of the calculated destruction and mass starvation of the population of this part of occupied Palestine.

”While the Council of Europe and the European Union are separate entities, there is a sharing of core values, values such as human rights and democracy, which must be defended and upheld. There are common issues we must discuss.

”This debate comes at a time when Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has failed to stand up for the human rights of the beleaguered people of Gaza, while her push to intensify the militarisation of the EU undermines the independence of Ireland’s foreign policy and our military neutrality. It’s disgraceful. Ms von der Leyen should not be re-elected for a second term.”