Standing up for Ireland and Palestine
Standing up for Ireland and Palestine


Members of Anti-Imperialist Action Ireland were involved in a direct action against a British warship in Dublin port last Sunday.

The said the demo was called to highlight the ongoing British occupation of Ireland and to “make clear the complicity of British Imperialism in the ongoing Zionist Occupation and Genocide in Palestine”.

The protest, which also involved members of ‘Saoirse don Phalaistín’ [Freedom for Palestine], highlighted the links between the national liberation struggles in Ireland and Palestine.

The activists, chanted ‘From Ireland to Palestine, occupation is crime’ and ‘Britain Out of Ireland and Palestine’.

During the course of the protest, the activists confronted armed British soldiers who appeared on the deck of the ship. A stand-off ensued on the gangway. Over a dozen members of the 26 County Garda police force then arrived to protect the ship and forcibly removed the protestors.

Three republicans were arrested and held for twenty-four hours before being charged with trespass and bailed.

The involvement of the British Crown Forces, specifically the SAS, in supporting the genocide in Palestine is currently the subject of an official D-notice censorship order.

AIAI said the ‘HMS Penzance’ has “actively enforced British imperialism’s continued interests in the Middle East, the defence of England’s creation “Israel” being chief among those interests”.

“With the intensification of the genocide in Palestine direct action of this type is the kind of solidarity that is most effective,” they said in a statement.

“British warships have no place in any part of Ireland or our waters. For so long as the illegal British occupation of our country continues, AIA remains committed to confronting and resisting British Imperialism in Ireland and to standing in genuine solidarity with the oppressed peoples of the world and their fights for National Liberation.”

Meanwhile, Irish Republican Prisoners in Maghaberry, Hydebank and Portlaoise Gaols are to embark on a one-day hunger protest along with political prisoners around the world.

The protest is intended to show solidarity with Palestinian prisoners, who have doubled in numbers in the past month. There are currently now over 10,000 Palestinians being held in captivity. Around 1,000 are being held under ‘administrative detention’ (internment) and over 170 are children.

And Lasair Dhearg members joined other republican and anti-apartheid activists this week when they descended upon Derry City and Strabane District Council holding a large protest banner. The council was suspended as the banner was unveiled, stating ‘Expel the Israeli Ambassador’.

In Belfast, demonstrators heard a call for a boycott of Israeli goods and an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Up to 5,000 people gathered at Writer’s Square in the shadow of St Anne’s Cathedral on Saturday before marching to the headquarters of the British government’s ‘Northern Ireland Office’.

Protesters heard calls for consumers to boycott companies with investments or links to Israel over the war in Gaza. They included multi-national firms like McDonalds, Puma, Hewlett Packard, Axa and Domino’s.

“We should follow the example of Presbyterian and Methodist churches in the US and different organisations around the world and divest from Israeli banks, Israeli companies,” one speaker told the crowd.

Speaking outside Erskine House, Nobel Peace Prize-winner Mairead Maguire told the crowd what was happening to the people of Palestine amounted to a genocide.

“I beg to the young people, please read the history because the history of Palestine is the history of so many ethnic minority groups,” she said.

“It’s the history of Ireland, it’s the history all over the world…if we don’t wake up as ordinary people with the truth and say we are ashamed of what is happening in Palestine. We will not be silenced and we will speak forever about Palestine…today in Gaza, God forgive us, we stand back while Israel gets rid of the Palestinians in Gaza. Where is next?”

Thousands also took part in a rally on Saturday in Dublin, during which protestors staged a sit-in at the Department of Foreign Affairs headquarters at St Stephen’s Green.

The protest began at the Garden of Remembrance and marched across the River Liffey, with demonstrators chanting: “In our thousands in our millions, we are all Palestinians”; “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”, and: “Ceasefire now”.

In Cork, thousands of pro-Palestinian campaigners also took part in a march for the sixth Saturday in a row, which heard calls for sanctions on Israel and for an end to the use of Shannon Airport to support the massacre.

Over sixty TDs and Senators have now signed an open letter addressed to Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan TD, calling on him to review the government’s policy on munitions inspections at airports.

The letter, which was published by the Seanad Civil Engagement Group (CEG) and signed by 67 TDs and Senators from Sinn Féin, Labour, the Social Democrats, and People Before Profit (PBP), as well as independents, requests the Minister to “ensure Ireland is not complicit in arming Israel”.

It cites a report from Village Magazine last week in which a spike in munitions exemptions for flights travelling through Irish airspace coincided with the conflict in Gaza, raising questions over Ireland’s role in the supply of weapons to the region.

Speaking at a Dáil debate on the issue, Paul Murphy TD said: “Is Shannon Airport being used to transport weapons from the US to Israel? The truth is, I do not know. The truth is that the Tánaiste and the government do not know either because they refuse to do inspections”.

There are fears that Irish foreign policy is being quietly reconstructed by Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin to further erode Irish neutrality in tandem with a European Union military agenda.

Martin, who is rumoured to be interested in a lucrative EU posting, has announced plans to scrap the mechanism which prevents Ireland deploying troops overseas without UN approval.

In a speech which also included commitments to greater international “military co-operation”, Martin said he wants Ireland to be able to “respond to crises” without regard to the UN General Assembly or Security Council.

The requirement for authorisation is seen by many as a cornerstone of Irish military neutrality.

The proposal immediately drew criticism from Sinn Féin Foreign Affairs spokesman Matt Carthy on Wednesday who called it a “fundamental shift in Ireland’s foreign policy” which would “radically undermine Irish neutrality”.

He said: “If anyone had questions about the absolute necessity for Ireland to maintain an independent foreign policy, those questions were answered the day that the President of the European Commission and European Parliament landed in Tel Aviv and gave unequivocal support to Israel as it embarked on its ferocious illegal assault on Gaza.

“That position does not and would never represent the views or the values of the Irish people, and it reinforced the need to ensure that no European office holder can ever speak for Ireland without our direct consent and agreement.”

Urgent Appeal

Despite increasing support for Irish freedom and unity, we need your help to overcome British and unionist intransigence. We can end the denial of our rights in relation to Brexit, the Irish language, a border poll and legacy issues, with your support.

Please support IRN now to help us continue reporting and campaigning for our national rights. Even one pound a month can make a big difference for us.

Your contribution can be made with a credit or debit card by clicking below. A continuing monthly donation of £2 or more will give you full access to this site. Thank you. Go raibh míle maith agat.

© 2023 Irish Republican News