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Dublin: 5 °C Friday 19 December, 2014

Nobel laureate appeals for safe passage for Gaza flotilla

Mairead Corrigan Maguire, who was on the first flotilla last year, urges Israel not to pursue violence.

Hugh Lewis, Jim Rocke, Paul Murphy, Trevor Hogan, Shane Dillon, Felim Egan and Mags O'Brien: some of the passengers on the MV Saoirse, which sets sail tomorrow.
Hugh Lewis, Jim Rocke, Paul Murphy, Trevor Hogan, Shane Dillon, Felim Egan and Mags O'Brien: some of the passengers on the MV Saoirse, which sets sail tomorrow.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

ONE OF IRELAND’S former Nobel peace laureates has urged the Israeli government not to pursue violence against the people sailing on a second aid flotilla to Gaza at the end of the month.

Mairead Corrigan Maguire, who was aboard the MV Rachel Corrie that took part in the first ‘Freedom Flotilla’ last year, said the “many hundreds of world citizens” on the flotilla deserved the support and admiration of all countries.

“I hope the international community will demand that the Israeli Government do not carry out their threats to use violence against these unarmed heroes, but give them their right to safe passage to Gaza,” Corrigan Maguire said in an open letter.

The letter came as the Irish Anti-War Movement also lent its support to the second flotilla, which is to set sail next week in an attempt to break the naval blockade imposed by Israel.

The movement is holding a protest next Tuesday, marching from the Israeli embassy to the Gaiety Theatre where it will join a protest with the Irish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, which is demonstrating at a performance of Riverdance.

The IPSC wants the show not to visit Israel during its tour, which plans to visit the country in September.

Composer Raymond Deane, who is the IPSC’s Cultural Boycott officer, said Riverdance was “often seen as a cultural ambassador for Ireland, a role that entails great responsibility.

“By touring Israel next September in defiance of the Palestinian call for a cultural boycott of Apartheid Israel, Riverdance is simultaneously betraying the Palestinians and misrepresenting the Irish people.”

Gilmore meets ambassador

Yesterday Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore met with the Israeli ambassador Boaz Modai, when he urged Israel to show restraint when the flotilla reaches Palestinian waters.

“I cannot advise any Irish national to participate in a venture which potentially brings them into harm’s way through seeking to break a naval blockade,” Gilmore said afterward.

“I emphasised, however, to the Ambassador that if the flotilla does sail next week, then Israel must exercise all possible restraint and avoid any use of military force if attempting to uphold their naval blockade.

“In particular, I would expect that any interception of ships is conducted in a peaceful manner and does not endanger the safety of our citizens or other participants. I urged the Ambassador to ensure that this message was relayed to his authorities.”

An Irish boat, the MV Saoirse, is one of ten boats taking part in the ‘Stay Human’ flotilla, setting off tomorrow from a secret location in the Mediterranean. The vessels are to rendezvous in international waters next Tuesday ahead of the final leg of their journey.

Among those travelling on the boat are former Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin South East, Chris Andrews, and former Irish rugby international Trevor Hogan.

Irish rugby stars issue support for Gaza aid flotilla campaign >

TDs and actors join call to support Irish aid ship’s journey to Gaza >

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