Ireland demands peace with justice for Gaza
Ireland demands peace with justice for Gaza


An Irish lawyer has received global praise for making the case against Israel at the International Court of Justice at the Hague, only to be undermined by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Mayo woman Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh is one of two external counsel supporting the South African legal team. She challenged Israel and its supporters with shocking details of the bombing of Gaza which is killing over one hundred children a day and costing the life of innocent Palestine civilian every six minutes.

Her searing account of the horrors of the intensive 100-day annihilation of the people of Gaza was shrugged off by Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, one of only a handful of premiers around the world to criticise the legal action.

“The United Nations Secretary-General and its chiefs describe the situation in Gaza variously as a crisis of humanity, a living hell, a bloodbath, a situation of utter, deepening and unmatched horror where an entire population is besieged and under attack, denied access to the essential for survival on a massive scale,” Ms Ni Ghralaigh said:.

Quoting UN officials, she said that Gaza has become a place of “death and despair” as medical facilities are “under relentless attack” and overwhelmed by trauma cases, while infectious diseases are spreading in overcrowded shelters as sewers spill over.

Ms Ni Ghralaigh, an award-winning barrister with expertise in international human rights law, said that Palestinians in Gaza are experiencing hunger as a result of Israel blocking food from entering the strip.

She added: “Famine is around the corner. For children in particular, the last 12 weeks have been traumatic: No food, no water, no school, nothing but the terrifying sounds of war day in, day out.”

More than 23,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli strikes in the Gaza Strip since October 7. More than 7,000 Palestinians are further reported missing and either presumed dead or currently dying under the rubble.

“On the basis of the current figures, on average, 247 Palestinians are being killed and are at risk of being killed every day – many of them literally blown to pieces,” she said.

“They include 48 mothers each day, two every hour. And over 117 children each day, leading UNICEF to call Israel’s actions a war on children.”

The destruction of Gaza, added Ms Ní Ghrálaigh, would be “the first genocide in history where victims are live-streaming their own destruction”.

“This is the first genocide in history where people themselves are broadcasting it,” she added. “The world should be absolutely horrified, there is no safe space in Gaza. The world should be ashamed.”

She ended her evidence by showing an image of a white board in a Gaza hospital trauma room where the medical staff – now believed dead – had left the simple message in writing: “We did what we could. Remember us!”

Speaking after the case opened this week, Ms Ní Ghrálaigh’s family in Ireland said she did “a superb job” and that there had been messages of support from people telling them “that she makes us proud to be Irish.”

It was not lost on anyone in Ireland that we have suffered our own genocides as a result of British occupation, including Cromwell’s ethnic cleansing of the 17th century and the Great Hunger in the 19th.

Ms Ní Ghrálaigh has previously explained the story of Majella O’Hare, a 12-year-old girl from County Armagh who was shot in the back and killed by a British soldier in 1976, had a profound impact on her.

Despite the mainstream media refusing to air the case against Israel at the historic hearings, there was universal support in Ireland for her presentation. But in another Foreign Affairs disaster, Ms Ní Ghrálaigh was stabbed in the back by the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar who said he was “uncomfortable” at events in the Hague and attempted to play down the horrors being perpetrated by Israel.

His stance put him sharply at odds with the Irish people, who have continued to rally in support for the Palestinian people. At the weekend, a National Demonstration for Palestine was organised by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) in Dublin as part of a global day of action. The biggest ever such demonstration, it wa supported by some 70 civil society organisations. Trade unions, students and community groups from across the country were among those taking part in the protest.

Demonstrations were also held in towns and cities across Ireland, including Cork, Ennis, Longford, Killorglin, Carrick-on-Shannon and Derry.

The Chairperson for the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign said the call from the protests was for “action from the Irish government.” Zoe Lawlor accused the government of being “very out of step with the Irish public” and she called for sanctions to be imposed on Israel by Ireland.

She said it was “really disappointing and in fact shameful that the Irish government didn’t support the South African submission” to the International Court of Justice this week.

“We want sanctions on Israel, we want the Occupied Territories Bill to be enacted, we want the Illegal Israeli Settlements Divestment Bill to be enacted.”

In London, where over 100,000 again turned out for a demonstration against the genocide, Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald addressed the protesters, telling the crowd that Palestinian freedom is possible.

“We seek a new horizon of freedom, of peace, of security,” she said, calling for a ceasefire.

“To the cynics, the indifferent, the belligerent, who say that this can’t happen, that peace and Palestinian freedom is a dream too far, I say this standing here in London, in common cause with you, having walked our own long journey out of conflict, of building a peace for twenty-five years.

“I say this can happen, this must happen, that all of us must ensure it will happen.”

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