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Irish ship Saoirse Photo by: Michael Coleman from Free Gaza Australia website

Detained Gaza activists return to Ireland from Israel

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Irish ship Saoirse Photo by: Michael Coleman from Free Gaza Australia website

The remaining nine Irish members of the Gaza flotilla, detained by Israel authorities for attempting to break the naval blockade, are due to arrive in Dublin Airport today. Five of the 14 activists arrived into Dublin on Thursday night.

Ireland’s deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore has raised concerns over the treatment of the activists during their detension and has vowed to follow up with the Israeli authorities after all members of the group return to Ireland.

Paul Murphy, an Irish European Member of Parliament and Trevor Hogan, a former Irish rugby star, were among those detained for attempting to break the navy blockade of the Gaza Strip last week.

European parliament president Jerzy Buzek called on Israel this week to "quickly" release Murphy and the other crew members.

"It is unfortunate that Mr. Paul Murphy, a Member of the European Parliament, chose to instigate a political provocation by attempting to break a legal naval blockade despite the EU's position on the matter," the mission said in a statement.
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A member of the Irish Socialist Party, Murphy considers “he was kidnapped in international waters," according to a party spokesman.

A total of 27 passengers and crew abroad the Irish ship Saoirse, which means Freedom and the Canadian ship Tahrir, which mean liberation, were intercepted by the Israeli navy last Sunday.

The Israeli Embassy in Dublin has defended the decision of Israeli authorities to imprison the Irish activists after they were detained.

In a statement issued on Thursday afternoon, the embassy said the activists "committed an illegal act and therefore had to be detained".

It added that the Israeli maritime blockade on Gaza is "legal under international law, as confirmed by the UN Palmer Report".

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