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Sligo County Council votes unanimously to call on RTE to boycott the Eurovision

Sligo County Council has previously voted to fly the Palestinian flag from Council Officers for a month in 2017, as well as voting to support a bill to ban goods from Israeli settlements in 2018.

Protests have been ongoing outside RTE headquarters by Irish-Palestinian solidarity groups
Protests have been ongoing outside RTE headquarters by Irish-Palestinian solidarity groups
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

SLIGO CITY COUNCIL has called on broadcaster RTE to boycott this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

In a motion put forward at this week’s Sligo County Council (SCC) meeting by councillors Declan Bree (Ind), Gino O’Boyle (PBP) and Chris MacManus (SF), SCC voted unanimously to support the call on RTE to boycott the Eurovision and not broadcast it.

The call for a boycott has been led by protests from Irish-Palestinian solidarity groups campaigning against this year’s song contest outside RTE headquarters.

Independent Cllr Bree said that he compared the current situation of Israel occupied Palestine to the British occupation of Ireland in the past and said that he wanted SCC to support the artists outspoken against the event this year.

“Ireland’s Eurovision team should join musicians of conscience like Sinéad O’Connor, Elvis Costello, Andy Irvine, Paul Brady, Roger Waters and most recently Lorde, who have heeded the call to boycott Israel until it complies with international law.”

“We in Ireland we have a proud tradition of standing with the oppressed and against injustice. The word ‘boycott’ originated here as we fought against colonialism, just as Palestinians are fighting for their freedom today.”

This is not the first time SCC have passed motions in support of the Palestinian people.

The previously voted to fly the Palestinian flag from Council Officers for a month in 2017, as well as voting to support a bill to ban goods from Israeli settlements in 2018.

Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign Chairperson Fatin Al Tamimi welcomed the motion approved by SCC.

“Once again the elected representatives of the people of Sligo are to the forefront in supporting the rights of the Palestinian people.”

“By calling for a boycott of the Eurovision in Apartheid Israel they have shown incredible solidarity with my people and our fight for freedom, justice and equality.”

“We thank Councillors Bree, O’Boyle, MacManus and all who voted for this, and encourage other councils to pass similar motions ahead of the Eurovision.”

Documents obtained by Journal.ie have shown that RTE had expressed concerns about how to handle the politically sensitive nature of this year’s Eurovision.

Previously, the Israeli ambassador, Ophir Kariv praised RTE on their ‘strong position’ on Eurovision boycott calls, saying that the contest was “a big cultural event and that politics should not be involved in it.”

RTE has been contacted for comment. 

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