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05th Nov 2023

Israeli ambassador appearance at Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis sparks outrage

Simon Kelly

Israeli ambassador Ard Fheis

Michael Martin has hit back at calls to expel the ambassador.

A number of TDs have expressed outrage after the Israeli ambassador was invited to the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis at Dublin’s Royal Convention Centre on Saturday, November 4.

Dana Erlich, who became Israel’s ambassador to Ireland in September, recently drew criticism after she accused President Michael D Higgins of repeating “misinformation” about the ongoing Israeli bombardment of Gaza.

People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy said the appearance of Ms Erlich at the Ard Fheis is an “insult to everybody who opposes Israel’s genocidal attack on Gaza.”

Sinn Fein TD Réada Cronin has also spoken out about the appearance, saying: “The only reason the Israeli ambassador should be in the same room as Michael Martin – Minister for Foreign Affairs, is to explain why Israel is refusing safe exit to Irish citizens in Gaza and is it a consequence of our abhorrence to the slaughter of Palestinian children.”

Sinn Fein say Israeli ambassador’s position is “untenable”

The ambassador’s appearance at the Ard Fheis comes as Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald has said Ms Erlich’s position is now “untenable” due to the ongoing actions by Israel in Gaza, which has led to the deaths of nearly 4,000 children, according to Gaza health officials.

“The Ambassador should no longer enjoy diplomatic status in Ireland while Israel refuses the imperative for ceasefires and as the suffering and death toll grow,” said the Sinn Fein leader.

However, speaking at the Ard Fheis, Michael Martin said that the calls to effectively expel the ambassador from Ireland are illogical.

“If we expel the Israeli Ambassador, which I do not agree with but some advocate for, that would immediately mean the recalling of the Irish Ambassador who’s working in Israel, and, at the moment, is working and keeping contact with all of the Irish citizens in Gaza,” he said.

The Fianna Fáil leader added that he thought Sinn Fein’s press briefing regarding Ms Erlich’s position was “playing to a certain populist agenda” and “not a serious foreign policy”.

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