Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Matt Carthy TD, has called on the Irish government to increase funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in response to threats of upwards to 70% of its funding.
Deputy Carthy called on Tánaiste Micheál Martin to make the commitment at a meeting of the Oireachtas Select Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence on Thursday.
Teachta Carthy said:
“I welcome the Tánaiste’s commitment to examine providing increased funding to UNRWA at today’s meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs.
“UNRWA stands as the last lifeline to many Palestinians, particularly in Gaza. The actions of several states to suspend, cut or threaten funding to this vital organisation is shameful. Many of those states that have done so are considered Irish partners and allies and government should exert maximum pressure on them to change course. Certainly, Ireland cannot allow any suggestion that EU funding would be threatened.
“The response by some EU states to the allegations levelled against UNRWA stands in stark contrast to their refusal to support activating human rights clauses in the EU Israel Association agreement as a mechanism to press them to end their brutal, genocidal onslaught.
“In light of the humanitarian catastrophe that is unfolding in Gaza as a result of the ongoing Israeli assault it is unconscionable that states are denying funding to the victims of the attacks at the behest of the perpetrators. Were it not for the actions of Israel over many decades there would be no need for UNRWA at all.
“In the face of unprecedented death, disease and famine in the Gaza strip which has killed more than 26,500 Palestinians, the Irish government should commit to providing additional funds to alleviate the crisis and engage international partners to coordinate a concerted effort to maintain and enhance funding to UNRWA.”