For the Irish Government to Abstain is Incomprehensible

Gerry Adams Addressing the War on Gaza

Ingrid Miley (IM) interviews Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams (GA) about Ireland's abstention in a UN human rights resolution concerning the situation in Gaza.

RTÉ Radio 1
This Week
27 July 2014

Programme Hosts: Colm Ó Mongain (CO) and Ingrid Miley (IM).

IM: Well, as we've been hearing the crisis on the ground in Gaza continues to worsen.
International efforts are continuing in a bid to halt the death and destruction and bring the parties to the negotiating table. Part of that effort involved the drafting of a United Nations human rights resolution calling for an investigation of Israel's conduct of its military campaign.

The resolution was passed by twenty-nine votes to one as the United States voted against. However, Ireland, along with sixteen other countries, abstained and that has triggered an angry response from Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin. Fianna Fáil is currently trying to secure support to recall the Seanad to debate the crisis in Gaza while Sinn Féin leader, Gerry Adams, has urged the Taoiseach to recall the Dáil.

When I spoke to Gerry Adams this weekend I first asked him what was his main problem with the government's response to the Gaza crisis?

GA: What the special meeting of the Human Rights Council was pressing for was an independent international commission to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. And it was very balanced in my view, it particularly condemned all violence against civilians - including Israeli civilians. It called for immediate cessations of all actions including attacks on Israeli civilians. Now for the Irish government to abstain when what this was about was a call for international law to be upheld is incomprehensible.

IM: The government is saying that the resolution as drafted was biased and one-sided against Israel - this was the EU position - and wouldn't have included an investigation of rockets fired by Hamas and military groups into Israel. Now isn't that omission a legitimate ground for fearing that this would be doomed from the outset and fail to get Israeli buy-in which would be essential to get any resolution?

GA: Well first of all, the minutes of the Council meeting don't even record any intervention by an Irish representative. Secondly, it says very clearly to establish an independent international commission of enquiry to investigate all violations of international human rights law. Sometimes we Irish have an exaggerated sense of our place in the world. But really, those people in the Middle East do respect Ireland because of our colonial past, because of the fight for freedom here, because of our history and also because of our recent and ongoing peace process.

IM: Precisely that peace process, Gerry Adams, required people to take on board unpalatable concerns from their opponents. Surely given that a key point in Israel's justification for its campaign in Gaza is that it is acting in self-defence should have required in this resolution a more coherent and overtly expressed acknowledgment of Israel's concerns.

GA: Any interpretation of this allows for all. I repeat, the resolution's quite clear. But also, according to the minutes, at a general debate speakers called for an immediate halt of Israeli operations against civilians. But some spoke also against and condemned reprehensible acts, including indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israel by Hamas and other armed groups.

IM: Do you condemn the indiscriminate firing of those rockets by Hamas?

GA: Yes! Absolutely! Sinn Féin's position – and I was there. And I also met the Hamas leaders - and was told that I shouldn't have met the Hamas leaders - but I met them. And I said to them: You should stop these actions. We must be very conscious: This is a small strip of territory that would stretch ten kilometres way from Drogheda to the border. There are two million people living there. They've no where to go!

It isn't really about my view about what's going on there. It isn't even about who's right and who's wrong.  It's about what the Irish government should do to represent the feelings of the Irish people and to play a useful, positive role – and yes, it does involve taking risks and yes, it does involve taking up positions that are unpalatable - but there would not be a peace process in Ireland if the international community had not taken a stand.

IM: And you've called on the Taoiseach to recall the Dáil to allow a debate to take place on this. Realistically, what is that going to achieve?

GA: Again, it sends a very, very clear signal that people here care, that our parliament is prepared to debate these issues, that hopefully we could get an agreed position. It would also help the morale of our own people, the people of the island whatever our party political views of this – to know that our parliamentarians, for once, are united and are doing the right thing.

IM: Well, I'm told that the Taoiseach does not believe it's necessary at this time to recall the Dáil giving the range of efforts that Ireland's engaging in bilaterally and at EU level to address this. What more do you want them to do?

GA: I want them not to abstain when they go to a UN Council meeting. I want them to vote in support. The Dáil coming together for an agreed period of a morning session - or a three or four hour session - on an agreed resolution. Even the very fact that the Parliament would be recalled, that the Dáil would be recalled, would make news in that region which would be positive for those who are trying to make the peace.

IM: Gerry, why this conflict rather than other conflicts? If you look at Syria and the fate that has befallen a lot of the people there, we haven't heard calls to recall the Dáil for that or for many other conflicts that are taking place in the world.

GA: No, I think that's valid. And in fact the Fianna Fáil party, which has agreed on the need for the Dáil to be recalled, is also making the point that the situation in the Ukraine should be discussed. But there is a longstanding relationship and affinity between Irish people and between people in Palestine. And there's also a longstanding relationship between people in Ireland and the Israeli State. So the Irish government can't do an awful lot more. But it needs to rectify, if it can, the mistake that was made in abstaining on this UN Council motion.

It's fair enough for a spokesperson for the Taoiseach to tell you that now is not the time - I have yet to be told that. We can't resolve all of these crises but because we can't resolve them all there's no reason for not making a stand and one that we could have a positive impact on.

CO: Well, that was Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams.


  1. I got to the bit where Adams said" the people of the middle east respect Ireland,because of our colonial past because of our fight for freedom" he failed to mention that he and his cronies sent comrades to their deaths while they negotiated surrender and amnesties and kudos for a chosen few not to mention allowing brave men to die needlessly on hunger strike,anything coming out of his mouth sounds as sincere and honest as anything from Tony bLIAR, he tells us that he talked to Hamas maybe they dont have a word in arabic for treachery, fuck Adams he is a puppet for the brits not a statesman so his words are as meaningful and useful as a bucket full of piss.

  2. I have got to be honest, been impressed with Sinn Fein's actions towards Palestine' they have been pretty active in the agitation campaign. Been in Scotland, working, for months now, and all the campaigns over here are organised by cairde na heireann [Scottish Sinn Fein]. Whatever else you cans say about them, they are one of the few parties in Europe who are vocal in support of Palestine.

  3. David words are cheap and quisling $inn £eind doesnt come any cheaper, since Adams hijacked the party circa 86 they have been all things to all men ,they showed this when they welcomed Cat co into west Belfast their gladhanding reps of the Israeli government is akin to Martybroy groveling to Liz the brit ,I for one cant see anything they have to say other than hypocrisy and opportunism .you can fool some the people all of the time is their mantra or so it seems. .

  4. Marty,
    Don't get me wrong, I am eternally wary and skeptical regarding our former friends, but credit where it's due Sinn Fein supporters, in my opinion, have done well regarding Gaza.

  5. Anybody for a gaza t.shirt.10er a go.not a bit of wonder they support them

  6. Yip Billy they are real experts in making money out of misery

  7. Hi David and Marty
    Reading your comments on this thread, i have to say that from an outsider's point of view i find it impossible to disagree with either of you even though your opinions on this are so conflicting.

    Is the average citizen of Gaza aware of just how duplicitous Gerry Adams and his cronies actually are? I don't mean that in a condescending way (there i go again David!) but only in the sense that average citizens of England appear to have very little knowledge or understanding of how Adams has betrayed his own people over the decades.

    Of course i accept that i may be completely wrong about this, but i imagine that from a Palestinian point of view, knowing that halfway across the world an important politician and his party are being very vocal and active in their support of you, particularly in light of the downright lies and nonsense other politicians are spouting, must be a tremendous morale booster. Maybe? I don't know. It's just a thought.
    Goodnight guys. Best wishes.

  8. Sarah calling the man who allowed six comrades to die a needless and horrific death and who denied his part in the coverup of his brother and fathers paedophilia,even going so far as giving the old bastard a republican funeral, who also allowed active republicans to be killed,some argue (rightly so imo) that they were set up and call him an important politician is stretching the imagination to far , Gerry Itwasntme is nothing more than a puppet for Whitehall a useful one at the mo granted but that usefulness diminishes as time goes by,while its understandable to expect that quisling party members are appalled at the events in Gaza they remain silent in asking publicly their president for life or the west Belfast mp or indeed ex AC OC Martybroy McGuinness now deputydog to Pete the punt to explain their smiling and handshaking pictures with reps of the Israeli murder machine and their vocal support for the setting up of the Cat Co here the same co now supplying machinery to flatten the homes of the people in Gaza ,these bastards are nothing more than crawling cunts who if you took on as friends you wouldnt need enemies .

  9. Marty, sorry, i didn't mean to diminish his awfulness.
    Best wishes.

  10. Any person who has looked at the situation in Palestine today and over the course of the past number of decades, cannot arrive at any other conclusion, than, what we are witnessing is plain and simple genocide.

    The template being employed by Israel is a tried and tested one. It was used by the brits in many of the countries they invaded. The yanks did it with native americans, the brits did it with the aboriginals and many more.

    Israel is carrying out a creeping version of genocide, which is certainly working for them. I dont know at what point Gaza will be gone as we know it and becomes another part of Israel, but it is happenning and will continue until Gaza is no more. Those in the Westbank who have engaged in attempts at finding a solution through the use of peaceful means have been made mugs of divide and conquer tactics, though old and obvious, these tactics remain effective as ever. When Israel has settled thier Gaza problem, I feel sure the Westbank will be the next target.

    SF are travelling around conflict zones trying to convince oppressed peoples to go down the road of surrender processes. That is one way of hiding from thier own shameful behaviour here in Ireland. That is why some like the Clintons and Blairs of this world have tried to elivate the SF leaders as statesmen. They are no such thing. I regard them as being pathetic based on everything I have witnessed over the years.

    Was watching the whole SF/media promoted outrage over bonfifes in nationalist areas. Most people would accept that the brits/unionists have never got away from the attitude of croppy lay down but when people within the republican/nationalists community start expressing this by thier actions, they have over extended themselves.

    Loyalists are given grants for having bonfires, the housing executives clears specially allocated sites for bonfires, thousands are spent on major clean up operations. All this despite the fact most of these events are celebration of hate,directed towards the nationalist community.

    SF need to get real. SF/IRA for years encouraged street protests and violence. Bonfires during the 70s/80s were always popular in communities and almost every street would have its own. Now SF/IRA want all young people to engage in what SF/IRA see as acceptable. Teenagers from some nationalist areas dont want to attend the peoples festival, they dont want to do walks up and down hills, listenning to some selfimportant ass imparting his/her own brand of wisdom, some teenagers dont want to sit in the Falls pk making St Brigits crosses. Instead of pushing some of our young people in to the diection of criminal records, why dont they take some responsibility, it was SF/IRA who nurtured the culture of bonfires. A 13 year old boy was arrested in the lower falls yesterday. Why?, because he is a croppy, he is not entitled to the same rights as protestants/loyalists, he is not permitted to have a bonfire,he is not entitled to grants to have a bonfire, the housing executive are not clearing sites for nationalists to lite bonfires. No what nationalist youths get is masked council workers, escorted by armed police and directed by SF, creating a situation whereby a confrontation has been manufactured. If I were a parent of that 13 year old, I would be asking Paul Maskey, why they felt it was neccessry to bring armed men into a nationalist area to confront children.

    The RUC/penis have continued with contrasting approaches towards nationalist and loyalists communities. The nationalist community gets policed by paramilitary armed thugs, whilst over in the loyalists communities they get policed by social workers.

  11. I was sickened (but not surprised) to learn that SF is making money out of the Gaza situation. David, yeah, I've seen it here in Belfast where many, many ordinary SF members have been at (and to the forefront) of protests against what is happening in Gaza, but as Marty said, they can't (or won't) question their own "leadership" on anything. If they did, they'd be lashed out of SF on their ear. A friend sent me an email with photos of Adams, McGuinness and Tom Hartley shaking hands with and accepting a book about peace(unbelievable!) from, I think he was the Israeli ambassador to England or the "UK", instead of telling him to fuck off, they welcomed him with open arms. If anyone here has a link to those pics (I deleted the email by mistake) I would be very grateful as I want to send them to other friends to show them how treachery works.

  12. Belfastgit, the photograph you mention is on the Northern Ireland Friends of Israel website homepage, about halfway down.

    Be warned though, the website itself is pretty offensive.

  13. Belfastgit, sorry, i made a mistake, Gerry Adams isn't in the picture on NIFI website but there's one of McGuinnes shaking hands with Ron Posner (Israeli ambassador to UK) whilst holding a book about israel so it might be the same incident you referred to. Bit vague, sorry.

  14. Sarah, no problem mo chara. I think (please correct me if I'm wrong) the last time I saw Ron Prosner he was the Israeli Ambassador to the "UN" am I right?

  15. I don't know what he is doing now, Belfast git, and you are probably right. He was the Israeli ambassador to UK a few years ago, but i don't know where in the world he's causing problems now.

    If you didn't see this at the time (2010) here is an interesting piece by Eamonn McCann regarding SF leaders meeting with Prosner in Belfast.

    "Many supporters of the Palestinian cause have been dismayed - and Sinn Feiners have been embarrassed - by Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness meeting with the Israeli ambassador to the UK during his visit to Belfast in May.

    See more at:

    It ties in perfectly with what you, and also Marty have said here.

    Best wishes

  16. Hiya Sarah, you were right, that website, offensive is not the word for it! I'm in my early 50's now, and I was thinking to myself: why should I keep protesting? Maybe I'm getting too old for all this. My missus is 5 years younger than me, and she was out there screaming as loud as the rest of them to stop the slaughter in Gaza. My children are aged from 30 down to 15 and they were there doing the same. I now think that I know where they got it from, me! I was out there doing all sorts of protests when AM and his comrades were suffering in the H Blocks. I didn't give a fuck what the Brits and/or Cops did on me to highlight what was going on in the Blocks (I have the scars to prove it!). What I'm saying is, is that my missus and my kids can smell a rat, and protest against injustice when ever it crops up, and I'm proud of them!

  17. Marty, Billy, Belfast git,
    I am not for a second trying to legitimize the Sinn Fein leadership, i was just saying their supporters did a good job in the Gaza agitation campaign. Belfast git your right about the grass root Sinn Fein supporters refusing to criticize their leadership, it is exhausting. I have friends, who i don't see so much anymore, who are Sinn Fein activists and when you call them on the betrayal of republican ethos, they just hit you with party mantra, it's demoralising, but what can you do?