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Gaza 14 are inspirational – Sinn Féin

11 November, 2011

Sinn Féin spokesperson on foreign affairs Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has described the 14 Irish human rights activists from the Irish ship to Gaza, the MV Saoirse, who are presently arriving home, as “inspirational”.

Deputy Mac Lochlainn condemned the Israeli government and armed forces for their “illegal kidnap and imprisonment” of Irish citizens on a mission of peaceful solidarity and aid to the beleaguered one million Palestinian citizens of Gaza.

Deputy Mac Lochlainn also thanked the staff at the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Irish Embassy in Israel for their unrelenting work on behalf of the 14 Irish citizens to ensure that their rights were defended and that they were released from Israeli detention.

He said:

“I am immensely proud of these 14 Irish human rights activists. They are an inspiration. At a time when Ireland’s international reputation has been sullied by corporate greed and selfishness, these men and women have reminded the world of the best of Ireland, our noble tradition of defending human rights and oppressed people across the globe.

“Israel has again been shamed by the dignity and integrity of peaceful activists but it poses the question: why do ordinary citizens have to risk their lives and liberty again and again on this issue when the vast majority of world opinion is behind justice for the Palestinian people? Why have the US, the EU and the UN failed to hold Israel to account?

“It is clear from the recent vote at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to accept the full membership of Palestine that the overwhelming weight of international opinion supports the right of the Palestinian people to statehood, dignity, justice and freedom.

“I long for the day when no more Irish citizens have to take the risks that the heroic Gaza 14 have taken yet again. But the only way this can happen is for the Irish Government and their European and International partners to finally deliver justice for the Palestinian people.”

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