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Tánaiste must put human rights before commerce in Bahrain – Mac Lochlainn

7 July, 2011 - by Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Speaking from Leinster House in response to written questions to the Tánaiste, Sinn Féin spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Padraig Mac Lochlainn said that it is not good enough for the Minister for Foreign Affairs to merely express concern about the grave human rights abuses being conducted against doctors in Bahrain.

He said:

"I am shocked at the soft sentiment conveyed by Minister Gilmore. In effect, the Minister has taken a line that economic gain to this State takes precedence over basic human rights. His reply to my question concerning the ethics of the Royal College of Surgeons' involvement in Bahrain has left me astounded. His statement that "the RCSI's medical campus and facilities which it operates represent a very substantial investment which is of direct economic relevance to this country" is quite frankly, an eye-opener.

Mac Lochlainn said:

"The economic value of the Royal College of Surgeons in Bahrain to this State can not take precedence over Ireland's commitment as a nation to upholding human rights globally. It is an outrage that economics is considered to be a factor when we are faced with the appalling reality of what is happening to doctors in the region. Doctors have been arrested and detained for attending to the needs of people caught in the middle of a conflict situation - people with life threatening injuries. It is simply not good enough. How can the Tánaiste stand over such a comment? As Minister for Foreign Affairs he has a duty to put the protection of human rights above all other considerations.

"I would suggest that, by issuing such feeble statements, the Tánaiste is in danger of turning this State into an economy rather than a moral society. Is this an indication of where our priorities lie these days? I would ask the Tánaiste, what has changed from the previous Government's branding of our nation as Ireland Inc? Is he pursuing the same vision - that of chasing the tail of the Celtic Tiger?

"The revelation of where the Tánaiste stands on the issue of the RCIS's role in the Bahrain crisis is cause for serious concern"

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