Request to fly Palestinian flag in Leinster House refused as Govt accused of 'double standards'

Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghail said it would be ‘inappropriate’ to fly either the Palestinian or Israeli flag at the moment.

CEANN COMHAIRLE SEÁN Ó Fearghaíl has refused a request to have the Palestinian flag flown in Leinster House. 

People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy said the request was made last week to fly the flag on today as part of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

In a letter, the Ceann Comhairle said that he believed it would be “inappropriate” to fly either the Palestinian flag or the Israeli flag at Leinster House at present.

“Given the sensitivities of the situation at present, with negotiations at an advance stage for the release of hostages and to advance the cause of a ceasefire, I believe it would be inappropriate to display any symbols including the Palestinian or indeed, the Israeli flag at Leinster House at this juncture,” Ó Fearghaíl wrote.

The letter is dated 23 November, which is prior to the ceasefire being agreed.

Speaking in the Dáil, TD Richard Boyd Barrett said the government was showing “double standards” regarding its attitude to the illegal invasion of Ukraine by Russia and the devastation that has been inflicted on the people of Gaza.

“I know that these are only symbols, but the contrast is summed up with the fact that today, for two years, we have had the Ukrainian flags flying here, but we cannot fly the Palestinian flag, even though the local authorities in Dún Laoghaire and in south Dublin, in Fingal and in Cork are flying the Palestinian flag in solidarity with the suffering of the Palestinian people.

“Why is the Palestinian flag not flying out there on a day when they have suffered genocide at the hands of Israel?” he asked. 

Justice Minister Helen McEntee said it is clear that the government continues to support the Palestinian people “in the position we have taken on a two-state solution”.

“We have consistently called for a ceasefire and for humanitarian aid to be provided. That is the position we have taken and we have clearly shown, not just by our actions or by flags, but by the actions we have taken and the direction that the Taoiseach and Tánaiste have taken, to ensure that we do everything in our power to protect those who are currently under fire, quite literally,” she added.