Ireland’s Tánaiste Micheál Martin briefed his EU counterparts today, Monday, November 20 as the EU Foreign Affairs Council held an extraordinary videoconference meeting.

Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs said Monday’s meeting provided a "timely opportunity for the Tánaiste to brief his EU counterparts on his recent visit to Egypt, Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory."

The Tánaiste reiterated the need for the EU’s position to be informed by developments on the ground and to evolve accordingly. 

In particular, the Tánaiste underlined the urgent need to intensify calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.

Speaking after the meeting, the Tánaiste said: “I welcome that the High Representative convened an extraordinary meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council. It is vital that the EU remains seized of this evolving situation and reacts with appropriate urgency to the reality on the ground.

“The EU is clear in its condemnation of Hamas and in its call for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.

"At the same time, I have been clear, including during my meeting with Foreign Minister Cohen last week, that there can be no military solution to this crisis.

“I welcome that discussions also focused on how the EU can contribute to building a sustainable peace. Such efforts will require close coordination with partners in the region.

"Moreover, I have underlined that it requires us to listen to our partners in the region.

"Their message is clear – we must protect innocent civilians and children. The first priority is an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.”

In a statement on Friday, the Tánaiste said he was "delighted" that 25 more Irish citizens and dependents were set to cross the Rafah Border Crossing, bringing the total number of Irish citizens and dependants assisted to depart Gaza by consular staff to 51.

In the same statement, the Tánaiste said he remained "deeply concerned" about the hostage situation in Gaza, which includes Irish-Israeli girl Emily Hand.

He added: "The high number of civilian casualties in Gaza in recent weeks is shocking.

"I reiterate my call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and an urgent scaling up of rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access.

"Ireland has been clear that International Humanitarian Law applies in all conflicts, in all circumstances, to state and non-state actors alike.

"We can not see this violence, destruction, and displacement continue."

On Sunday, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) reported that, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza, 11,078 people - two thirds of them are reportedly children and women - have been killed in the Gaza Strip since October 7.

UNRWA added that overall, around 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed in Israel, according to Israeli Authorities, the vast majority on October 7.

Meanwhile, pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched in Dublin on Saturday. During the march, Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs was daubed with red paint.

According to The Journal, the incident has been reported to An Garda Síochána though no arrests have been reported.


Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin covered in Red Paint to represent Palestinian Blood

The government refused to vote for Sanctions on Israel a couple days ago

🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸#FreePalestine #Ireland #Dublin #Palestine

— DC 🇵🇸🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍⚧️ (@spongebobDCOM) November 18, 2023

Last Wednesday, two motions calling for the expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland, imposing sanctions against Israel, and referring Israel to the International Criminal Court were defeated in the Dáil Éireann.