Dublin Lord Mayor Daíthí de Roíste. Sam Boal/

Lord Mayor of Dublin defends decision to hold meeting with Israeli ambassador next week

People Before Profit criticised the decision to hold the meeting on what is the UN’s International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

THE LORD MAYOR of Dublin has defended a decision to host the Israeli ambassador to Ireland Dana Erlich at the Mansion House next week.

Daithí de Róiste was criticised by People Before Profit for inviting Erlich to the meeting on 29 November, what is the United Nations’ International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. 

The party is calling for a protest to take place at the Mansion House on 29 November.

In a statement on social media, de Róiste said Erlich contacted the Mansion House for a meeting with him as Lord Mayor. 

“I raised this at group leaders meeting (with leaders of all political parties and independents). I expressed that I was happy to refuse this request, or if it was the opinion of group leaders to go ahead with the meeting where we could collectively express our disgust with their actions of genocide in Gaza,” he wrote. 

“It was unanimously agreed to go ahead with the meeting by all present and that group leaders of all parties and independents would join the meeting in the Mansion House. This was also minuted.”

People Before Profit councillor Hazel de Nortúin said it is “absolutely disgraceful” that de Róiste would host Erlich “while Palestinians living in Gaza are being bombarded daily, and having to endure apartheid conditions, ethnic cleansing, and genocide”. 

“Ireland needs to lead the way on sanctioning Israel – by imposing boycott, divestment and sanctions on Israeli goods and services, and by expelling the Israeli ambassador and diplomatic staff,” the Ballyfermot-Drimnagh councillor said.

“I am calling on the Lord Mayor to cancel this meeting and join the call for the ambassador to be expelled, and for him to stand in solidarity with Palestine.”

In a statement to The Journal, Sinn Féin councillor Daithi Doolan, leader of the Sinn Féin Dublin City Council group, said he would not be attending the meeting on 29 November. 

“I will not be attending the meeting with the Israeli Ambassador. I realise that this date, November 29th, is the UN International Day of Solidarity with Palestine,” he said. 

“I think it would be inappropriate to meet the Israeli Ambassador on this day considering what is happening in Palestine at this time. I have urged An tArd Mheara to seriously reconsider the invite.”

Dublin City Council Independent group leader Cieran Perry told The Journal: “On a personal level I would be willing to meet the Israeli ambassador as an opportunity to question her complicity in the ongoing genocide of the people of Gaza but I don’t believe it is appropriate to meet with her on the United Nations International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people.”

The Journal also asked the Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour group leaders for comment. 

Last week, the Government defeated a motion in the Dáil seeking to expel Erlich and impose economic sanctions on Israel.

People Before Profit have tabled a motion calling for sanctions on Israel and for Shannon Airport to be closed to the US military.

But the Government has tabled a countermotion to PBP’s motion, with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar saying it is doing so because it omits reference to Hamas and the human rights abuses committed against Israeli citizens. 

The motion is being debated in the Dáil this morning.