Monday 22 January 2018

Seanad to be recalled to debate escalating Gaza crisis

Senator David Norris
Senator David Norris

Daniel McConnell Group Political Correspondent

The Seanad is to be recalled from recess to debate the escalating crisis in Gaza, it has been confirmed.

It is expected that the Upper House will convene either Wednesday or Thursday. Fine Gael leader in the Seanad Maurice Cummins has said the Seanad will sit as soon as procedurally possible.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan is expected to address the chamber.

The move to recall the house has angered some within Fine Gael who have dismissed the calls to come back early as a political stunt.   “What can they do about this other than yap about it,” said one Fine Gael source.

The recall comes on foot of pressure from a group of opposition Senators.

Independent Senator David Norris initially tabled a motion for recall last week and the demands for reconvening are also coming from Fianna Fáil, Independents and some Labour senators.

Fianna Fáil Seanad leader Darragh O'Brien said the recall was needed to discuss the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

He said that if the parliament remained silent on the issue it would mean that the Irish people were silent on it.

Fianna Fáil Senator Averil Power, who has been vocal in her criticism of the Israeli action in Gaza, has welcomed the decision to recall the Seanad.  “Senators of all parties and none have been horrified by the deteriorating situation in Gaza and particularly the huge number of civilians that have been killed there,” she said.

“We sought this special Seanad debate so that we could discuss the situation in Gaza and Ireland’s response with the Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan. The Leader of the House Maurice Cummins has now informed me that the Seanad will sit as soon as possible and I welcome this,” she added.

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