Minister for Foreign Affairs Appeals for Release of Two Irish “Gaza boat” Detainees
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Micheál Martin, T.D., has called for the swift release of two Irish nationals, Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire and Derek Graham, who are currently being detained in Israel awaiting deportation, following the seizure on 30 June of a boat, The Spirit of Humanity, sailing with a consignment of humanitarian goods from Cyprus to Gaza.
“My Department has been closely following the situation arising from the seizure on Tuesday by the Israeli Navy of The Spirit of Humanity and has been in ongoing contact at a senior level with Israeli authorities, both through the Israeli Embassy here and our own Ambassador and Embassy in Tel Aviv.”
“My immediate priority is ensuring the safety and welfare of Ms. Maguire and Mr. Graham and securing their release as soon as possible. I have been assured by the Israeli authorities that they are both well and are being properly treated. An officer from the Irish Embassy in Tel Aviv visited yesterday with Ms. Maguire and Mr. Graham to provide assistance and will endeavour to make a further consular visit today”
“I would again renew my call for the release of Ms. Maguire and Mr. Graham as well as the other nineteen passengers detained on The Spirit of Humanity. I would also call upon the Israeli Government to ensure that the humanitarian supplies for the people of Gaza being transported on The Spirit of Humanity are made available as soon as possible to the Palestinian authorities for distribution”, added the Minister.
“I do not need to recall my strong views on the completely unacceptable nature of the blockade now being imposed on the people of Gaza. All border crossings into Gaza should be opened immediately to humanitarian and normal commercial traffic so that the dire humanitarian situation can be adequately addressed and the reconstruction of Gaza begin. This is the only effective remedy which we should seek to offer to the long-suffering people of Gaza.”
2 July 2009