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Irish 'freedom flotilla' ship damaged in port

Supporters of MV Saoirse mission to Gaza claims damage to boat was “sabotage” and could have put people’s lives at risk.
Jun 30th 2011, 7:38 AM 1,869 73

THE IRISH SHIP that was intended to sail to Gaza as part of a ‘freedom flotilla’ has been damaged while docked in a Greek port.

The MV Saoirse had been preparing to meet up with an Italian ship today and sail to Gaza. However, the Irish Ship to Gaza group said that it had been discovered that the MV Saoirse had suffered “extensive” damage in Pireaus port. The group is claiming that it is an act of sabotage and former Fianna Fail TD Chris Andrews said that the damage to a propeller meant that the boat cannot sail and that it would have most likely led to the boat sinking had it been in the open sea.

He tweeted late last night:

The flotilla’s Irish organisers are calling a press conference in Dublin city centre this morning at 11am and have said they will release video footage and photos of the damage later today. The Irish Ship to Gaza group also intend to hold a protest march from the Spire on O’Connell Street tomorrow at 6pm to the Israeli Embassy and stage an overnight sit-out there.

Andrews called on the Government to investigate the incident and “seek explanation” from the Israeli ambassador to Ireland.

While no-one has claimed responsibility for the damage sustained to the MV Saoirse, or confirmed that it was a deliberate act of sabotage, the Irish Ship to Gaza group has claimed that “agents of Israel” were “presumably” to blame.

The Irish Anti-War Movement had called on Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore earlier this month to ask the Israeli government to allow free passage of the MV Saoirse to carry aid to Gaza. Former Leinster rugby player Trevor Hogan, Chris Andrews and MEP Paul Murphy had all been intending to be on board the ship.

A protest against restrictions on aid supplies to Gaza and to support the sailing of the MV Saoirse was held in Dublin on Tuesday evening:

Minister questions need for Gaza flotilla>

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

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Susan Daly


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