Monday 20 November 2017

Kenny rejects need for Dail recall to debate 'horrendous' Gaza crisis

Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photo: Frank McGrath
Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photo: Frank McGrath
Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has ruled out recalling the Dail to discuss the Gaza crisis, despite describing the situation there as "quite horrendous".

Mr Kenny said the situation in the region was "very fragile", adding that the humanitarian crisis and "needless loss of life speaks for itself".

He acknowledged that every country was entitled to defend itself – but stressed that this must be done in a proportionate manner.

"The United Nations has obviously pointed out on many occasions that a response in self-defence needs to be proportionate," he said. "Clearly the situation where a thousand people have lost their lives in Gaza is not satisfactory and has been the subject now of direct phone calls between the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Israel."

Speaking in Galway, Mr Kenny acknowledged the decision by the Seanad leader to recall members to discuss the crisis, but added the issue had already been raised in the Dail by the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

"I note the leader of the Seanad has decided to recall the Seanad to discuss this matter which is quite horrendous. Clearly the situation in so far as the Government are concerned here, the Minister for Foreign Affairs debated this matter in the Dail on the 19th of June by way also of a number of parliamentary questions.

"He's had the Israeli Ambassador in several times, the latest meeting between he and the Ambassador was the 25th of July, just this week. He's also met with the ambassadors of Saudi Arabia, of Morocco and of Palestine. And has met the representatives of the Egyptian and United Arab Emirates States," he said.

The Taoiseach also high- lighted the €500,000 allocated for humanitarian relief by the State. He said the Gaza conflict was one of many emerging in the Middle East, insisting the death of any child was no greater in one area than another.

Meanwhile, President Michael D Higgins said the situation in Gaza was "a tragic example of the failure of diplomacy". He said "the enormous increase in unsettled conflicts at the present time represents a great challenge to the international community".

Irish Independent

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