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Galway City Council calls on RTÉ to boycott the Eurovision

GCC passed a motion last night calling on RTÉ not to broadcast the contest.

Pictured National Chairperson Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign Fatin Al Tamimi people demonstrated out RTE Studios in March
Pictured National Chairperson Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign Fatin Al Tamimi people demonstrated out RTE Studios in March
Image: Sam Boal via Rollingnews

GALWAY CITY COUNCIL has called on RTÉ to boycott this year’s Eurovision Song Contest “as long as its held in Israel”. 

A motion put forward at last night’s council meeting by Independent councillor Collette Connolly, passed by a majority in support of the call on RTÉ to boycott the Eurovision and not broadcast it. 

Connolly told TheJournal.ie that she was delighted the motion passed as it shows Ireland’s solidarity with Palestine. 

Her motion stated:  “Noting the widespread Irish public support for a boycott, this Council calls on RTÉ to boycott Eurovision 2019 as long as it is due to take place in Israel.”

Comparing Israel occupied Palestine to the British occupation of Ireland, Connelly said:

Ireland knows what it feels like to be occupied. We need to voice our support against tyranny.

The call for a boycott has been led by protests from Irish-Palestinian solidarity groups campaigning against this year’s song contest outside RTÉ headquarters.

Galway follows behind Sligo County Council and Derry City and Strabane District Council who have both voted in favour of RTÉ boycotting this year’s song contest. 

In 2017, a number of local authorities voted to fly the Palestinian flag for a month in solidarity with the people of Palestine.  

South Dublin County Council, Dublin City Council, Galway County Council and Sligo County Council, all passed a motion to fly the flag of Palestine from their council building for a month.

‘Politicised hate campaign’

In a statement to TheJournal.ie, The Israeli Embassy said that Israel is looking forward to “welcoming all participants of the Eurovision song contest including of course from Ireland”.

Ireland and Israel share the values of inclusivity, diversity and unity that are at the very basis of the contest.  Those values have been repeatedly demonstrated by the Israeli participants in the contest.

The statement went on to criticise people seeking to boycott the contest in Israel saying they “exhibit the very antithesis of these values”.

“They repeatedly seek to hijack any event, including those promoting fraternity between nations, to promote a cynical, politicised hate campaign against the world’s only Jewish state.” 

Cllr Connelly was critical of those who say that events such as the Eurovision shouldn’t be politicised, saying: “Everything is politicised.”

Her motion to boycott came about after working in conjunction with the Knocknacarra Palestine Network for two months. 

She said she felt it necessary to bring the motion to GCC after attending a public meeting a few months ago during which she heard “heart-rending and horrific first-hand accounts of life in occupied Palestine”. 

KPN said it was proud of the City Council “for taking such a stance against human rights abuses perpetrated by Isreal against the Palestinian people”. 

Ireland’s hopeful, Sarah McTernan is due to perform at the second semi-final on Thursday in Tel Aviv.  

RTÉ has previously said it will not boycott the contest, stating that the winner and host country of the Eurovision is determined by the rules of the competition, not RTÉ.

The broadcaster has yet to respond for comment following the passing of GCC’s motion. 

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Adam Daly

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