Dáil debates

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Ceisteanna - Questions

Citizens' Assembly

1:52 pm

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance) | Oireachtas source

We recently sought to hold a referendum to debate our neutrality. The Taoiseach suggested, in response to that and in voting down our motion for a referendum, that we consider a citizens' assembly on neutrality. Is he serious about that? I believe we should still have a referendum to give the people the right to debate and decide. Will we have a citizens' assembly, which would also be welcome, to discuss the issue? One of the issues it could discuss as part of defining neutrality is consistency in standards and principles when it comes to foreign policy.

I draw attention yet again to the double standards in the response to what happened in Jenin in the past 24 hours. The Taoiseach has rightly condemned the murder of a journalist, and I am glad he has done so. He also called for an investigation. However, there is another important issue about that event. What the hell were the Israeli Defense Forces, IDF, doing carrying out “an operation” on Palestinian territory? For the last six weeks, the Taoiseach and western leaders have rightly condemned Russia’s “operation” in Ukraine. They have called it out for what it is, namely, a brutal, unjustifiable, inexcusable act of military aggression on somebody else’s territory. Why is the same thing not being said about Israel’s incursion into Jenin in Palestinian territory? What was Israel doing carrying out a military operation on Palestinian territory? What is it doing day-in, day-out carrying out military operations on Palestinian territory? Will we call that out as well?


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