PALESTINE'S bid for membership of the United Nations is "entirely legitimate and understandable", the Tanaiste told the UN General Assembly in New York yesterday.
Eamon Gilmore said Palestine had "the same right to membership of the United Nations as Ireland, or any other member of the organisation", a remark that prompted applause from sections of the chamber.
He promised Ireland's "full support" in any vote on a proposal to admit Palestine as a member or, as an interim step, to give Palestine non-member observer status.
Mr Gilmore also held separate meetings yesterday with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and the Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki.
The UN Security Council has begun consultations on the application by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. But the US has threatened to veto the bid, even if the Palestinians get the support of the required nine of the 15 members.
In his address, Mr Gilmore said recognition of Palestinian statehood would "give dignity and support to the Palestinian people who have suffered for far too long".