March 23, 2022
Irish government’s shameful silence on Saudi war on Yemen – Senator Paul Gavan

Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan has condemned the government’s refusal to speak out against the dictatorship in Saudi Arabia for its seven-year war of terror on the people of Yemen.

He highlighted the role that Shannon Airport has played in the war, informing Minister for State Joe O’Brien that every US Military advisor helping to train Saudi pilots to drop bombs on Yemeni citizens has come through Shannon.

He asked for an explanation as to why a Minister was in Saudi touting for more business even as the regime was preparing to carry out 81 executions in one day and continuing its campaign of bombing in Yemen.

He concluded by calling on the Minister to use our seat at the UN Security Council to call for an end to the war, condemn Saudi aggression, and condemn arms sales by members of the EU, Britain and the US to Saudi Arabia and the UAE .

Speaking in the Seanad, Senator Gavan said:

“377,000 Yemenis have died as a result of the war, including a minimum of 10,000 children. 

“The Saudi regime has also enforced a criminal blockade preventing vital aid reaching the Yemeni people. Every 10 minutes, a Yemeni child dies as a result of this blockade.

“The government needs to take a leading role in calling for an arms embargo, and end the ongoing support for this appalling war through the US Military use of Shannon Airport. 

“Every US military advisor helping to train Saudi pilots to drop those bombs on the Yemeni population has come through Shannon.

“The shameful silence of our government with regard to this war, the continuing refusal to condemn the Saudi dictatorship, or even call for an investigation into war crimes begs the question, why did the government seek a seat on the UN Security Council in the first place?

“Two weeks ago, the government sent a Minister of State to Saudi Arabia to tout for more business.

“At that time, the regime was just preparing to engage in a series of executions – there were 81 executions in one day.”

Speaking after the exchange, Senator Gavan added:

“When we see what is possible, thankfully, in terms of tackling Putin and tackling horrendous actions in the world, it is extraordinary that Minister O’Brien refused to say one word in condemnation of the Saudi dictatorship, who are responsible for what is the worst disaster and humanitarian conflict in the world right now.

“He also refused to offer any explanation for the government’s recent trade mission and the complete absence of any focus on human rights.”

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