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July 6th 2011


Israel must answer questions on MV Saoirse

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams TD this morning raised the damage done to the MV Saoirse in its efforts bring much needed humanitarian aid to the besieged citizens of Gaza.

Mr. Adams asked the Taoiseach if the government had spoken with the Irish crew who were aboard the MV Saoirse to seek their account of what occurred last week and their belief that their ship was sabotaged and that the lives of Irish citizens were placed in danger.

He also asked the Taoiseach if the government has spoken to either the Israeli or Turkish authorities on this matter.

Regrettably, the Taoiseach could not answer these questions but said he was raise these matters with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and come back to the Sinn Féin President.


Speaking after Taoiseach’s Questions Mr. Adams said:

“Serious questions must be asked of the Israeli government about the events surrounding the MV Saoirse and a thorough investigation of the damage done to the Irish boat is required.

The blockade of the Gaza strip is illegal. The boarding of the flotilla by Israeli forces last May and the killing of 9 aid workers was illegal. The separation wall is obscene and illegal and the construction of settlements on stolen Palestinian land is illegal.

I strongly support the right of the humanitarian aid workers and others to deliver very necessary humanitarian aid to the people of that region which they are being illegally denied by the Israeli authorities.

Providing humanitarian aid for the million and a half people who live under siege in Gaza and making a stand against the aggression and illegal actions of the Israeli state is hugely important.

The situation in that region and the illegal blockade of Gaza will not go away. It must be faced up to and the siege ended if there is to be any hope for peace.

The Irish government can play a key role in this by giving leadership within Europe and supporting the right of the Palestinian peoples to their own state.”

Note to editor: Gaza Statistics:

· 1.5 million people live in a piece of land 40 km long by 10 km wide.

· 80% of Gazans are now dependent on some form of aid.

· 100,000 estimated to have lost their jobs in the private sector since 2004/5.

· 56% of the population of Gaza is under 18. Schools in Gaza have often classes of over 50 children.

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