A proposal to fly a Palestinian flag over Dublin City Hall on Dame Street as “an act of solidarity with the people of Gaza” and a “public demonstration of resistance to the murder of Palestinian civilians” has been rejected by Dublin councilors.
An emergency motion to raise the flag was put forward by the Independent Group in the council and supported by Sinn Féin, the Green Party, Labour, Social Democrats and People Before Profit. However, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael councilors either rejected the vote or abstained.
While 39 of the 57 city councilors at the monthly city council meeting supported the motion because it was an emergency motion, passing the motion would require the support of three-quarters of those present.
The vote followed a call from Israeli Ambassador Dana Erlich on Monday to “investigate the full facts of the current tragic conflict instigated by the terrorist organization Hamas” before deciding to raise the flag.
In a letter to acting council leader Richard Shakespeare, Ms Erlich called on the council board to take into account the Israeli and Jewish communities in Ireland “in view of the symbolism of a Palestinian flag flying on the town hall”.
She added that the embassy had received “a lot of support from the Irish public who are committed to empathy and compassion following the massacre in Israel on October 7,” but many feared that “public demonstrations in support of Israel could be met with protests, threats of violence and violence.” “anti-Semitic statements” are more likely to be targeted.
Independent group leader Cieran Perry, who introduced the motion, said raising the flag would “express our disgust at the continuation of Israel’s genocide against Palestinians and hopefully encourage an immediate ceasefire.”
Noting the growing death toll in Gaza, he said: “Every effort must be made to stop the massacre and address the humanitarian crisis caused by the relentless attack on the people of Gaza.”
Fianna group leader Deirdre Heney said she would support flying a “peace flag” over City Hall but did not believe flying a Palestinian flag would do anything to resolve the current conflict.
Fine Gael’s James Geoghegan also said his party would support a peace flag. However, Councilman Mannix Flynn and several others sought clarity on what constitutes a peace flag, and the matter had not been resolved before the meeting ended.
Previously, the Palestinian flag flew over the town hall. In May 2017, then-People Before Profit councilor John Lyons, now an independent, proposed the idea of honoring the 50th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and showing the international community’s support for the Palestinian people.
The decision was criticized by then-Israeli Ambassador Ze’ev Boker and former Justice Minister Alan Shatter.