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The Irish parliament, Leinster House Alamy Stock Photo
Leinster House

Politicians question Israeli and Palestinian flags being ‘side by side’ in Leinster House

The Palestinian flag was raised outside Leinster House on Tuesday this week on the day that Ireland officially recognised the State of Palestine.

QUESTIONS HAVE BEEN raised over how the Houses of the Oireachtas decides what international flags to display in Leinster House after the Palestinian flag has been placed on show today beside the Israeli flag. 

The Oireachtas press office told The Journal this afternoon that the decision was made as Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl “asked for both flags to fly side by side, for one day, as an expression of the need for a two-state peaceful resolution.”

Earlier this week on Tuesday morning, the Palestinian flag was raised outside the building next to the European Union flag and the Ukrainian flag. 

However, the Palestinian flag has since been removed and today was displayed inside Leinster House alongside the Israeli flag, the United Nations flag and the Irish tricolour. 

The Oireachtas spokesperson did not provide additional information when asked for details on how these decisions are made. 

A number of opposition politicians have expressed outrage at the move and questioned how decisions relating to flags are made. 

Taking to X, formerly Twitter, Sinn Féin’s spokesperson for foreign affairs Matt Carthy said it is “disgraceful stuff to fly the Israeli flag in Leinster House at any time but to do so this week is an utter scandal.”

“Israel is currently in violation of the International Criminal Court; Simon Harris and Micheál Martin must get this taken down. Now,” Carthy added. 

Earlier this week, Ireland officially recognised the state of Palestine and raised its flag outside the building in recognition of this.

581Palestinian Flag_90706127 Irish Tricolour, Palestine and Ukraine with the EU flags are flown side by side at Leinster House on Tuesday. Sasko Lazarov Sasko Lazarov

Taoiseach Simon Harris said that the decision to recognise Palestine as a state now “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.

It comes at a time when Israel’s ground and air campaign in Gaza has killed over 35,000 people following Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7 when more than 1,200 people were killed.

Senator and former MEP Lynn Boylan also took to X and said the Israeli flag “needs to be taken down immediately”.

“This is utterly inappropriate,” Boylan said alongside a picture of the flags.

“The Israeli flag is flying in Leinster House in the week that we recognised the State of Palestine and while the bombardment of innocent Palestinian civilians continues,” she added. 

People Before Profit Solidarity TDs Bríd Smith and Paul Murphy also criticised the decision. 

“Why is the flag of a state committing genocide being showcased in our parliament?,” Murphy wrote. 

Smith meanwhile argued that it was deemed “insensitive” to fly the Palestinian flag on Nakba day two weeks ago and said it was “completely out of order” to display the Israeli flag beside the Palestinian flag “in the middle of a genocide”. 

Two weeks ago, Smith was refused permission by Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl to raise the Palestinian flag on the grounds of Leinster House to commemorate the 76th anniversary of the Nakba.

Despite this refusal, Smith unfurled the flag on the grounds of the complex to commemorate the mass displacement of Palestinian people in 1948 during the Arab-Israeli war.

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