Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Press Release - Local Labour Candidate Calls for Twinning of Tallaght and Gaza

This was picked up in today's Metro - full speech to follow.

Dermot Looney, a Labour Party election candidate for South Dublin County Council, has called for the twinning of Tallaght and Gaza City in a speech to Tuesday’s Irish Anti War Movement Demonstration against the Israeli attacks in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Looney (26) has a track record of involvement in Palestinian solidarity, particularly within Labour Youth, and has advocated the boycott of Israeli products and services as a campaigning tactic against Israeli state aggression.

Speaking on behalf of the Labour Party at the demonstration, Looney, a Tallaght-based teacher who is seeking election in the new Tallaght Central Ward, proposed the twinning of the two towns as a display “not just of symbolic solidarity, but of material and infrastructural support from the people of Tallaght and South Dublin Council in the time ahead.”

“I am asking local people and their representatives on the Council to stand in solidarity with the terrorised people of Gaza by making this link,” Looney noted. “The Council already have arrangements with Ethiopian, English and German local authorities, but this would be a real and lasting message of hope for Palestinians from the people of Tallaght.”

“On behalf of the Labour Party I unreservedly condemn and oppose the attacks on Gaza and call for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire. Such a ceasefire can’t merely be a lull to allow the Israeli war machine pause for breath. Nor can it be a substitute for meaningful talks to resolve the wider issues of which there are too many to name.”

“This latest attack on the people of Gaza has already led to the slaughter of more than 500 people. It is just the most recent in years of savage attacks on Palestine, be they bombs from the sky, invasions on foot, the blocking of food, cash and fuel, or any other of the series of Israeli interventions to deprive the Palestinian people of their basic human rights.”

“Here at home, we must pressurise our Government, who talk much about Palestine but do little, to impose sanctions on Israel and to act within the EU to that same goal. As long as Israelis continue to build settlements in the occupied territories and carry out the most heinous military and socioeconomic attacks, no one here can stand idly by or spout the same old platitudes.”

“My solidarity, and that of the Labour Party, is entirely on the side of the suffering Palestinian people, entirely on the side of those Israelis who oppose their government’s slaughter, and entirely on the side of a just peace.”