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Statement calling for release of Irish citizens in Israel

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Micheál Martin, T.D., has reiterated his call for the immediate and unconditional release of the Irish citizens detained following yesterday’s storming of the humanitarian flotilla sailing to Gaza by Israeli forces.

“I met the Israeli Ambassador last evening and made clear that the Irish Government expects the immediate and unconditional release of all the Irish citizens detained. The seven individuals concerned did not enter Israel illegally; rather they were essentially seized from international waters, taken into Israel and asked to sign documents confirming that they entered illegally. This is simply not acceptable.”

“I would note that the UN Security Council, in a presidential statement issued earlier today, has called for the immediate release of all the ships and citizens detained by the Israeli authorities. Israel needs to listen to and act in accordance with the united voice of the international community on this issue.”

“I also expressed my dissatisfaction to the Israeli Ambassador about his government’s failure to allow our Ambassador and Embassy in Tel Aviv have full consular access to the Irish citizens detained. This failure to provide such access represents a clear breach of the Vienna Conventions. I have now been informed that our Ambassador and officers from the Embassy in Tel Aviv will be allowed carry out visits to the Irish citizens detained during the course of the day. I will continue to press for full consular access being allowed, as is provided for under international law.”

“I will be reporting to the Government later this morning on my meeting yesterday meeting with the Israeli Ambassador and on the measures which my Department is taking to secure the immediate and unconditional release of those Irish citizens detained by Israel.”