Written Answers - Human Rights Issues

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 744 No. 4

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  99.  Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn  Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn  Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade  Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore   if he supports the exclusion from the EU of produce from Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31208/11]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The Government’s firm views on the establishment and continued expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are clear and well known. I would support any move at EU level to exclude settlement products from entry to the EU. However, it is clear that such a proposal would not at this point have any prospect of commanding sufficiently wide support.

  100.  Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn  Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn  Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade  Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore   when he will meet representatives of the Irish Ship to Gaza campaign to receive their evidence on the reason they believe their boat, the MV Saoirse, was sabotaged by Israeli agents while docked in Turkey; the efforts he has made to establish the facts about this incident that endangered the lives of Irish citizens while on a humanitarian aid mission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31278/11]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  When the reports of the damage to the Saoirse were received, the Irish Embassy in Ankara made inquiries with the Turkish police and customs authorities in the port to ascertain their assessment of what had occurred, and the contention of the crew that this had involved sabotage. I have explained, in reply to previous questions from the Deputy, the reasons why the Turkish authorities did not consider that sabotage had taken place. I would be happy to have the views of the Irish Ship to Gaza group examined. I met with them in June prior to these events, and I am of course already familiar with the case they have made in public, and to the Turkish authorities, in relation to their view that the Saoirse was sabotaged. I would invite them in the first instance to meet with officials of my Department, to determine if they have further evidence beyond this to impart.

The investigation of what happened in a port in Turkey is of course, and will remain, primarily the responsibility of the Turkish authorities.


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