Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has written to the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny asking him to recall the Dáil to discuss the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the response of the Irish Government.
The call follows a decision by the Government on Wednesday to abstain in a vote on an emergency debate at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on the crisis.
Gerry Adams said:
"Irish citizens have been appalled at the Israeli Government's military onslaught against the civilian population of Gaza.
"Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets of Irish towns and cities in recent days to express their outrage at the indiscriminate killing of Palestinian men, women and children by one of the most powerful armies in the world.
"Incredibly the Irish Government refused to reflect that widespread concern when it abstained in Wednesday's crucial vote at UN Human Rights Council.
"The resolution, which the Government refused to support, sought to establish an international Commission of Inquiry into violations of human rights in Gaza.
"It also condemned the killing of Israeli civilians by rocket fire from Gaza.
"It explicitly urged 'all parties concerned to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law'.
"Most Irish citizens cannot understand why their Government did not back this reasonable and balanced resolution.
"It was a considerable honour when, two years ago, Ireland won a seat on the UN Human Rights Council for the first time.
"However, not only did the Irish Government fail to use its vote positively in the cause of justice and human rights on Wednesday, it did not even speak during the debate at the Human Rights Council.
"This was a shameful episode for the Irish Government and an act of political cowardice. It does not, in my view, represent the overwhelming view of the Irish people.
"Since the passing of the resolution by the UN Human Rights Council, the situation in Gaza has deteriorated further with the Israeli military targeting a UN school resulting in the deaths of even more children.
"I believe the Dáil must be reconvened at the earliest opportunity to discuss this very serious situation and I wrote to An Taoiseach yesterday to this effect. Thus far, I have received no response.
"Today, Sinn Féin will be contacting TDs from all parties with a view to enlisting as widespread a consensus as possible for a recall of the Dáil to discuss the urgent humanitarian crisis in Gaza and what the response of the Irish State should be."