Dáil motion calling for expulsion of Israeli ambassador is defeated

Dáil motion calling for expulsion of Israeli ambassador is defeated

A DÁIL motion calling for the Israeli ambassador to Ireland to be expelled has been defeated.

Around 1,000 pro-Palestinian protestors gathered outside Leinster House this evening as the Social Democrats motion was debated.

However, a government amendment to the motion, omitting calls for sanctions and instead calling for diplomatic relations with the ambassador to remain, passed by 85 votes to 55.

During the debate, Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns said the government's amendment had replaced diplomatic and economic sanctions 'with platitudes and zero actions'.

"The slaughter of innocent civilians in Gaza will not end without international pressure," she later posted on social media.

"Despite the overwhelming support of the Irish people, this government has chosen not to act."

Motion would 'push Ireland to margins'

The Social Democrats motion had called for diplomatic status to be withdrawn from Israeli ambassador Dana Erlich and for a referral to be made to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Israel.

It also called for sanctions, including suspending Israel's trade agreement with the EU as well as its access to the Horizon Europe fund for research and innovation.

The counter motion tabled by Minister of State James Browne expressed concern over the 'catastrophic humanitarian situation' in Gaza.

However, it omitted calls for sanctions and noted that an ICC investigation into the situation in Palestine was already underway.

Around 1,000 demonstrators gathered outside Leinster House (Image: Sam Boal / Rollingnews.ie)

It called on the government to maintain diplomatic relations with the Israeli Ambassador while advocating for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.

During the debate, Mr Browne said he recognised that the Social Democrats motion was 'a clear demonstration of the concern felt by the Members of this House in view of this truly heartbreaking situation'.

However, he claimed that it would 'push Ireland to the margins of international opinion and action in a manner that would undermine our influence'.

"Cutting off diplomatic relations with a country means cutting off communication channels," he said.

"Diplomacy is not always, or only, about friendly relations and nor is it an endorsement of the policies or actions of a given country.

"It is precisely at times of conflict and tension that diplomacy is most useful and needed."

'You are shaking them'

Speaking after the Social Democrats motion was voted down, People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett appeared heartened despite the defeat.

A similar motion put to Derry City and Strabane District Council last month by party colleague Councillor Shaun Harkin passed by 12 votes to eight, with 17 abstentions.

Addressing those gathered outside Leinster House tonight, Mr Barrett called for people to once again take to the streets this weekend in support of Palestine.

"It has begun to shake them, so we shouldn't give up hope," he said.

"We have to escalate this movement, we have to build this movement.

"You are shaking them but we have to escalate it so we overwhelm them."