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Richard Boyd Barrett raises the issue of Egypt in the Dáil this afternoon

Government condemns violence against Egyptian protesters in Tahrir Square

Speaking in the Dáil, Minister Seán Sherlock said the government had “deep concern” over the violence – but ruled out international intervention saying that “it is for Egyptians themselves to determine their own future”.

The government has condemned the violence against Egyptian protesters in Tahrir Square which has seen at least 35 people die since the weekend.

However a government minister ruled out any suggestion that there should be international intervention to halt the violence, saying: “It’s for Egyptians themselves to determine their own future”.

Speaking in response to Topical Issues in the Dáil this afternoon, Minister for Research and Innovation Seán Sherlock expressed frustration at the pace of reform in Egypt, characterising it as “slow and hesitant”. The Minister also highlighted concerns over arbitrary detention, torture, sectarian tensions, and civilians facing military trials in the country.

Sherlock said that the government joined with others in the international community to express “our deep concern and condemnation over the violence in Tahrir Square and parts of Egypt”.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett had asked the government to condemn the Egyptian regime and to call for the military regime to relinquish power.

He also asked the government to make clear the State’s objections to the Egyptian ambassador and to promise to sever diplomatic relations with the regime should the crushing of protests continue.

Boyd Barrett stressed the importance of the protests, saying: “If this revolution is defeated it will set back the cause of democracy in the Middle East for many years to come”.

Sherlock said that the government “will continue to work with Egypt to help it on its path to democratic transformation”.

He added that Ireland has committed €250,000 to a UN agency to support electoral progress in Egypt over coming months.

The discussion came as international criticism of Egypt’s military rulers mounted today as police clashed for a fifth day with protesters demanding the generals relinquish power immediately.

The United Nations strongly condemned authorities for what it deemed an excessive use of force. Germany, one of Egypt’s top trading partners, called for a quick transfer of power to a civilian government. The United States and the U.N. secretary general have already expressed their concern over the use of violence against mostly peaceful protesters.

The clashes are the longest spate of uninterrupted violence since the 18-day uprising that toppled the former regime in February.

- Additional reporting by the AP

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