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New Lord Mayor now aims to twin Dublin with Gaza

DUBLIN'S new Lord Mayor has proposed that the capital be twinned with Gaza -- to show sympathy to the 1.5 million people trapped there in a crippling blockade.

Cllr Gerry Breen, who was elected on Monday, has proposed that Dublin City Council examines the possibility of twinning Dublin with Gaza in a motion for next Monday's monthly meeting of the council.

The Gaza strip has been under lockdown by Israel and Egypt for nearly three years, after the Islamic militant Hamas movement seized it in 2007.

The Lord Mayor told the Herald that the twinning gesture would serve as a show of sympathy from Dublin city, rather than a pointed criticism of Israel. He stressed that it would be a positive salute to the Palestinian people living in Gaza, but he does not have a specific relationship in mind for Dublin and Gaza.

"My feeling was sympathy for the people of Gaza. [The country] doesn't necessarily need to benefit from it, sometimes you can do these things because it's the right thing to do.


"Certainly I would feel for them in their hour of need and with what's happened to the Palestinian people."

Dublin is already twinned with Barcelona, Liverpool, and San Jose in California, and the twinning of Gaza and Dublin would be a purely symbolic action. He explained: "There may not be any achievement in it but it's saying that we empathise with the plight of the inhabitants in that area.

"Other councillors have motioned criticism with Israel, and I think they're ten a penny, and I think that sometimes a positive is better than a negative."

Cllr Breen proposed the motion before he was elected Lord Mayor but he says it's not something he will be vehemently pursuing in his new capacity.

"I put it in as a motion as a councillor and I'll live or die by whatever the motion is, and we'll see what the outcome of it is."