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Arts in the right place to support Gaza

ACTOR Stephen Rea and four Irish artists have given their support to a campaign to help an Irish ship bring aid to Gaza later this year.

Dubbed the 'Freedom Flotilla 2', the ship will form part of an international aid flotilla travelling to Gaza in late May.

Artists Robert Ballagh, Felim Egan, Guggi and Pat Harris have each donated a piece of their artwork to the campaign. These will be made into limited edition prints, which will be numbered, signed and available to purchase online to raise money for the cause.

Rea joined the artists at the launch of the fundraiser, called 'Irish Art for Gaza', in Dublin yesterday. The Irish ship will sail in May to coincide with the first anniversary of the ill-fated 'Freedom Flotilla' last year, in which nine activists died following clashes with Israeli forces on board.

Egan will join the flotilla, along with travel writer Dervla Murphy, Fianna Fail TD Chris Andrews, Sinn Fein TD Aengus O Snodaigh, and People Before Profit councillor Richard Boyd Barrett.

Guggi said: "My heart is with the children of Gaza who are suffering at this time. I want to take part purely for humanitarian reasons. This is not about making a political statement of any kind."

There are also plans for a similar fundraising campaign in April.

Irish Independent