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Palestinian flag flies and Taoiseach greets families as Ireland formally recognises Palestine

The Government has agreed to establish full diplomatic relations between Dublin and Ramallah.


TAOISEACH SIMON HARRIS has formally recognised the State of Palestine in Dáil Éireann today as the Palestinian representative in Ireland and Palestinian families watched on from the gallery. 

Addressing the chamber, the Taoiseach said: “Today is a historic day but it takes place in the most sombre of circumstances as we witness the humanitarian catastrophe unfold in Gaza and Rafah.”

He said there is an onus on “every country” and on the EU to use “every lever at its disposal to bring about a ceasefire”. 

“It is no longer enough to condemn,” he added and said Ireland wants Israelis and Palestinians to know that “peace is possible”.

Before the Taoiseach began speaking, Ceann Comhairle Seán O Fearghaíl made a statement to “make it very clear that, when we speak here, we do clearly differentiate between Hamas and the Palestinian people.”

Palestinian representative to Ireland Dr Jilan Wahba Abdalmajid was welcomed with a round of applause to the Dáil by Taoiseach Simon Harris as she watched on from the distinguished visitors’ gallery.

Screenshot - 2024-05-28T150904.490 Palestinian representative to Ireland Dr Jilan Wahba Abdalmajid pictured in the Dáil today

A number of Palestinian families, including small children, also watched on from the visitors’ gallery. 

At the end of his speech, Harris received a round of applause from the packed visitors’ gallery before walking upstairs to shake the hands of some of the families, including Zak Hania. 

Zak Hania, an Irish-Palestinian man was reunited with his family earlier this month after what he described as seven months of “hell” in Gaza.

Later in the afternoon, People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett also left his seat in the chamber to go up and speak to Hania and his family. The pair greeted each other with a hug. 

Throughout the afternoon many government and opposition TDs left their seats to shake the hand of Dr Jilan Wahba Abdalmajid.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin told the Dáil that he anticipates that other EU countries will recognise Palestine in the coming weeks and months. 

“We refuse to accept that the only future for Palestinians is one of dispossession and occupation and displacement.

We refuse to believe that the only future for the Israeli and Palestinian people is a future of hatred, conflict and death. 

“We cannot accept that and we will not accept that,” he said.

Jewish friends

Leader of the Green Party, Minister Eamon Ryan echoed the sentiments expressed by the Taoiseach and Tánaiste and said he prays that in time Palestine will follow a similar path to “our own”. 

Ryan also reiterated that Ireland recognises Israel’s right to exist and said today’s recognition of Palestine does not in any way diminish this.

He also spoke directly to Jewish people in Ireland.

“I particularly want to offer reassurance to our Jewish friends and family here in Ireland. Those last seven months have not been easy, and many people feel that there’s a change in attitudes towards them because of their religion. 

We need to assure them that they are welcome here, they belong here, they are as Irish as all of us,” Ryan said.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald told the Dáil that today’s recognition cannot be the end, it must just be the beginning. 

She called on the Government to enact Senator Frances Black’s Occupied Territories Bill. 

Proceedings were later interrupted by protesters in the gallery and the Dáil was suspended briefly will they were escorted out. They called for sanctions against Israel as they left.

The Taoiseach told the Dáil in his speech that the future viability of the Palestinian state is “hanging by a thread” and called on other countries to also recognise the state.

If countries do not now take this formal step to recognise Palestine, I fear there may not be the opportunity in the future.

“Now is the time to act,” he said.


At Cabinet this morning, the Government officially decided that it recognises Palestine as a sovereign and independent state and agreed to establish full diplomatic relations between Dublin and Ramallah.

The move, announced by Taoiseach Simon Harris last week alongside Spain and Norway, will see full diplomatic relations established between the two states.

Harris said at the time that the Palestinian people deserve a future of peace and hope rather than suffering. He added that the people of Israel deserve the same.

It is understood credentials for ambassadors will happen at a later date. 

As part of the formal recognition of Palestine, the Palestinian Mission in Ireland will be upgraded to an embassy, subject to a formal request from the Palestinian authorities. 

An Ambassador to Ireland from the State of Palestine will also be appointed, subject to a formal request. 

Meanwhile, the current representative office of Ireland in Ramallah will also be upgraded to an embassy and the current Irish Representative to Palestine will be changed to the Irish Ambassador to the State of Palestine. 

Taoiseach Simon Harris said that the decision “is about keeping hope alive”.

“It is about believing that a two-state solution is the only way for Israel and Palestine to live side by side in peace and security,” he said.

Dual use goods 

Meanwhile, earlier today, Taoiseach Simon Harris told the Dáil today that he has “no knowledge” of any Irish exported technology being used by Israel as part of its assault on Gaza.

He was asked the question by People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy who wanted to know if any technology exported from Ireland is being used by Israel in its war on Gaza.

“Because we know that more than €70m worth of goods were exported from Ireland, technology which can have a dual use which can be used by the military…We know that since the 7th of October €32 million already has been exported.

“You said earlier it’s not enough to condemn there needs to be action. Can you at the very, very, very least stop the issuing of export license for dual use goods to Israel?,” Murphy asked. 

The Taoiseach responded: “I have no knowledge in relation to that.”

Palestinian flag

580Palestinian Flag_90706128 The Palestinian flag alongside the EU flag and Ukraine's.

Earlier today, the Palestinian flag was raised outside Leinster House.

The flag can be seen from the Merrion Square entrance to the parliament and flies alongside the European Union flag and the Ukrainian flag.

People Before Profit had been requesting that the flag be flown over Leinster House for a number of months now.

Earlier this month, TD Bríd Smith unfurled the flag on the grounds of the complex to commemorate Nakba Day.

This was despite refusals from Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl to fly the flag. 

Israel’s response

Responding to the recognition of Palestine, the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland, Dana Erlich said last week that it is a “prize for terrorism”.

Meanwhile, the Irish ambassador to Israel was summoned to the Israeli foreign affairs department alongside her Spanish and Norwegian colleagues for a “reprimand”. 

While there the three were shown a video of the October 7 attacks by Hamas on Israel.

Tánaiste Micheál Martin said Israel’s actions were “no way to treat a diplomat” and “totally unacceptable”. 

Israel’s foreign minister Israel Katz meanwhile tagged Taoiseach Simon Harris in a post on X, formerly Twitter, and said “Hamas thanks you for your service”.

Attached to Katz’s post was a bizarre video of clips he purported to be of Hamas, bookmarked with videos of Irish dancing with Irish-sounding music in the background. 

On Friday of last week, the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to immediately halt its military offensive in Rafah.

Despite this, Israel continued with its assault and yesterday undertook an airstrike on a displaced people’s camp near Rafah. 

The Gaza Health Ministry has said 45 people were killed in the strike, including women and children.

In a post on X, UNRWA (The United Nations Relief Works Agency) said Gaza has become “hell on earth”.

The post reads: “No one is safe: not civilians, not aid workers, no one has been spared.”

Additional reporting by Lauren Boland

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