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'This is an attempt to silence critics': Dublin Lord Mayor hits out at Israel over plan to refuse him entry

Mícheál Mac Donncha has travelled to the city of Ramallah in the West Bank.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Mícheál Mac Donncha.
Lord Mayor of Dublin Mícheál Mac Donncha.
Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

LORD MAYOR OF Dublin Mícheál Mac Donncha has hit out at the Israeli government over plans to refuse him entry to the country, saying that it was an attempt to “silence critics”.

He also said that he had had no contact from Israeli authorities since he had arrived in the country and no attempts had been made to deport him.

Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry told publication Haaretz on Tuesday night it would ban the Sinn Féin councillor from the country when his plane landed over his supposed ties to the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Mac Donncha was travelling to the city of Ramallah in the West Bank at the invitation of the Palestinian Authority for a major conference on the status of the City of Jerusalem.

Despite the plans by Israel to refuse him entry to the country, Mac Donncha confirmed Tuesday night that he had in fact been allowed into the country.

He told TheJournal.ie that he had gotten into the country without issue.

It is understood that MacDonncha was able to enter the country due to a spelling mistake by Israeli authorities. Officials had mistaken his title – Ardmhéara Mícheál MacDonncha – as his full name.

Criticism 

Israel has taken issue with recent motions taken by Dublin City Councillors in relation to Israel and Palestine.

Two motions passed at the monthly council meeting on Monday called for the Israeli ambassador to be expelled and pledged support to the boycott of Israel.

Harretz quoted Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan as saying that “the policy I set is clear: He who works consistently to boycott Israel will not enter here.”

Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon called the passing of the motion to expel the Israeli ambassador “utter nonsense, worthy of dark dictatorships”.

“This is lowbrow Antisemitism, not what you’d expect of the capital of an EU member state,” he said.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie this morning, Mac Donncha criticised the Israeli government’s plans not to allow him into the country.

“This is an attempt to silence critics,” he said.

Many delegates to this international conference were stopped from entering altogether, including some 15 who had travelled from India.

Mac Donncha said that the purpose of the conference was to focus on the status of Jerusalem after US president Donald Trump last year announced the US would recognise the city as the capital of Israel.

Trump’s defiant move ended seven decades of US ambiguity on the status of the Holy City, which is claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians.

The decision caused massive protests in Palestine and has received widespread international condemnation.

“I support the acts of solidarity with Palestine by the elected members of Dublin City Council,” Mac Donncha said.

The next step needs to be for the Irish government to fully recognise the state of Palestine.

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About the author:

Cormac Fitzgerald

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