Seanad to recognise Palestine as state
The Government is facing another embarrassing defeat in the Seanad, with senators preparing to pass a motion formally recognising Palestine as a state.
The move follows commitments by the Swedish government to recognise Palestine and the passing of a symbolic vote on the issue in the British House of Commons.
The Seanad vote, which has the support of eight Labour Party senators, will heap pressure on the Government to hold a similar vote on Palestine.
Fianna Fail Senator Averil Power has been given assurances by 31 of the 59 senators in the Seanad they will vote for her motion next week.
The motion calls on the Government to recognise Palestine and "do everything it can at the international level to help secure a viable two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict".
Ms Power said: "It is important in the aftermath of Israel's latest assault on Gaza that the international community sends out a clear message of support for the Palestinian people and their right to self-determination.
"As a country we have traditionally been vocal in our support for Palestine and proactive in lobbying on their behalf internationally.
"We should now be to the forefront of international efforts to secure full recognition for the Palestinian state and deliver a viable two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
Ms Power said she has the support of the both the Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein groupings in the Seanad.
She also has the support of Independent senators David Norris, Sean Barrett, Fidelma Healy Eames, Marie Louise O'Donnell, James Heffernan and Gerard Craughwell.
Labour senators backing the motion include Ivana Bacik, Aideen Hayden, Denis Landy, Lorraine Higgins, Marie Moloney, Mary Moran, John Whelan, John Kelly. Ms Power said Fine Gael senators will decided whether to support her motion at a meeting next Tuesday.