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Eurovision hopeful Erica-Cody Kennedy Smith RTÉ

'Same energy as Russia': Two of Ireland's Eurovision hopefuls say Israel should be cut from contest

One singer did not rule out boycotting the competition if Israel is not removed.

TWO OF IRELAND’S six Eurovision hopefuls, who will compete tonight to represent Ireland in the competition, have said Israel should be removed from the song contest.

Artists Erica-Cody and Bambie Thug have both said Israel should not be allowed to compete in this year’s contest because of the Israeli state’s actions in Gaza.

Erica-Cody did not rule out boycotting the competition entirely if she secures the position to represent Ireland.

To date, over 25,000 people have been killed by Israeli forces in Gaza following Hamas’s 7 October attack on Israel which killed more than 1,200 people.

Later today, the International Court of Justice will publish its preliminary ruling in the genocide case taken by South Africa against Israel.

Tonight, RTÉ’s Late Late Show will host a Eurosong special where it will choose Ireland’s entry for the 2024 competition which will be held in Malmö, Sweden.

Erica-Cody and Bambie Thug are among the six acts that will tonight compete to represent Ireland in the song contest in May.

Both will contest alongside artists AILSHA, JyellowL (AKA Jean-Luc Uddoh), Isabella Kearney and Louis Walsh’s boyband, Next in Line.

EUROSONG 028 Bambie Thug Andres Poveda Andres Poveda

Bookmakers are favouring Erica-Cody for a win tonight with her song Love Me Like I Do. She is trailed by Ailsha with her Irish language song Go Tobann and Bambie Thug with their song Doomsday Blue. 

Ahead of tonight’s song contest there has been a persistent campaign by activists demanding that Ireland boycott the competition in protest over Israel’s involvement. 

As of earlier this month, RTÉ had received over 600 emails asking it to boycott the competition.

Those in favour of a boycott say the organisers of the Eurovision, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), set the precedent for such an exclusion in 2022 when it did not allow Russia to compete after its invasion of Ukraine. 

Ahead of tonight’s competition, The Journal sought the views of all six contestants on the boycott campaign. 

Speaking at a press event in RTÉ, Erica-Cody and Bambie Thug both took the view that Israel should not be allowed to compete.

“We need to see the same energy that was given to Russia when they invaded Ukraine, it should be the exact same,” Erica-Cody said.

The former Dancing With The Stars contestant said the situation in Gaza is devastating.

“Personally, I’ve found it really disturbing and distressing to watch. And I’ve been very vocal about it,” she said.

When asked if Israel should be removed from the contest the singer said: “If I’m going to be 100% honest? Yeah.

I don’t stand behind genocide.

“I think it’s an absolute disgrace. This is meant to be a celebration of life and music, and acceptance and love.”

When asked if she would consider boycotting the competition if she wins tonight and Israel is not removed from the competition Erica-Cody said: “We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

“But I think anybody who knows me and knows me morally over the last couple of years being an activist should know that I would never step into something like this with an ignorant head on my shoulders.”

Fellow contestant Bambie Thug, who like Erica-Cody is one of the favourites to win, also said they do not think Israel should be allowed compete.

Bambie Thug said the same approach taken with Russia should be applied to Israel.

The non-binary artist, who lists Lady Gaga and Black Sabbath among their top influences added however: “It’s not down to the contestants though, it’s down to the Eurovision itself.” 

Other contestants preferred not to share their views on the Boycott movement.

Ailsha, who has promised “exploding toilets” on stage tonight as part of her performance, which she has said will resemble a “leaving cert fever dream”, told The Journal that while she is appalled at what is happening in the Middle East, she had nothing else to say on the matter.


Tonight will be the first time Late Late Show host Patrick Kielty will take the helm of the Eurosong contest. 

Sharing his views on the boycott movement, Kielty said he didn’t feel like it was his place to weigh in on whether Israel should be excluded from the competition.

“I’m not in the EBU. They’re the people that make that decision. I’m not a representative of Eurovision.

“You know, I happily talked about this on the show before, I think what’s going on in Gaza at the minute is heartbreaking… but in terms of this it’s somebody else’s question,” Kielty said. 

Yesterday, RTÉ published a report on Toy Show The Musical, which was a flop for RTÉ making a loss of €2.2 million. 

Kielty was asked if he felt the damning report had a negative impact on the Toy Show brand.

He said he didn’t think it did.

Kielty, who was at this stage being ushered away by RTÉ staff for a rehearsal added: “If you look at that report, there’s lots of mistakes. If we were going into what those are, there wouldn’t be a rehearsal this afternoon. So, you know, there’s not really much point getting into the specifics.” 

The Late Late Eurosong Special airs tonight, Friday 25th January, 9:35pm on RTÉ One and RTÉ Player.