Conor Murphy MLA
Sinn Féin Newry & Armagh MLA Conor Murphy will address a rally in Newry City on Saturday organised by the Irish Friends of Palestine Newry & Mourne in solidarity with the people of Gaza following the massacre of sixteen Palestinians in Gaza by the Israeli military last Friday.
The Sinn Féin MLA said: “The international community watched in outrage as Palestinians taking part in legitimate protests at the border on Friday were fired upon by the Israeli military, killing at least 16 and wounding hundreds of others.
“Statements from the Israeli military in the aftermath of this massacre are reminiscent of those of the British army after Bloody Sunday.
“There can be no doubt, what happened in Gaza was nothing short of a massacre. The international community has consistently failed to defend the rights of the Palestinian people who face flagrant human rights abuses on a daily basis, this needs to change. Israel must be held accountable for this atrocity.
“I am urging the Irish government to finally take a stand against Israeli aggression and violence. An Taoiseach should expel the Israeli Ambassador and officially recognise the state of Palestine as approved by the Dáil in 2014. There can be no further delay.
“I will be addressing a rally outside Newry Town Hall organised by the Friends of Palestine this Saturday 7 April at 12pm.”
Sinn Féin Youth held an emergency demonstration in Dundalk on Saturday in support of the Palestinian hunger striker Bilal Kayed who had reached his 71st day on the fast.
Around 80 supporters including several Sinn Féin councillors attended. The demonstration follows a meeting with the lawyers of Bilal Kayed by West Belfast MLA Fra McCann who visited Palestine recently.
Young protester standing in solidarity with 8 children being held in detention in Gaza
Speaking on Saturday, a member of the Sinn Féin Youth said “Bilal Kayed is currently shackled hand and foot to a hospital bed. He is being held without trial in what is effectively internment. The Israelis call it ‘administrative detention’ and currently there are over 750 Palestinian prisoners being held under this title, including eight children.”
Fra McCann MLA supported the demonstration and said “In the aftermath of last night’s indiscriminate bombing of the Gaza Strip it’s vitally important that we stand in solidarity with Bilal Kayed and the people of Gaza.
“During my trip to Palestine, I along with my party colleague Senator Paul Gavan met with and heard the personal stories of civilians who are victims of the ongoing occupation of Palestine.
Cllr Tom Cunningham’s 3 daughters with Cllr Jennifer Green
“The cruelty being inflicted upon the Palestinian people needs to stop and should not be tolerated by the International community.
“The international community needs to show their support to the people of Palestine and stand against Israel’s apartheid regime.”
Little 7 year old Conor Magennis from Dundalk was so moved by what he saw happening to children his own age in Gaza that he asked to attend the solidarity protest in Dundalk. He proudly stood beside his father Paddy and his grandparents and little sister.
Unfortunately, over the weekend he fell and injured his leg and has been confined to the house and to bed. His father Paddy said “when we told him he wouldn’t be able to jump around or play football he didn’t care. All he cared about was not being able to support the children in Gaza.” It didn’t take long for the innovative little boy to come up with a plan.
Granny Maria was sent to buy loom bands and little Conor is now spending his time making special ‘Gaza Loom Band Bracelets’. Conor said “I am going to sell them for whatever anybody wants to pay me. Then when I get all the money, I am going to buy books and pencils for the children in Gaza to bring to school.”
His father Paddy said “I’m so proud of him, he is just 7 years old and this is all his own idea.”
You can get one of Conor’s special ‘Gaza Loom Band Bracelets’ for a donation at Gerry Adams TD’s office in Crowe Street. But hurry, I have a feeling they are going to go fast.
Conor in bed – but still working
Conor, sister Katie, Daddy and Granny at Gaza Solidarity Protest in Dundalk
Louth Sinn Féin has established a number of drop off points for those who wish to donate items to aid the children of Gaza.
Spokesperson for the party, JJ Quigley said “we are asking everyone to search their homes and hearts and give generously to the Gaza Toy Drive. Our local councillors and I have been approached by lots of people who are outraged and feel helpless at what is happening in Gaza especially to the children. We all have items in our homes that we don’t use and instead of disposing of them why not give them to the children in Gaza.”
Quigley continued “there is a ship going from Ireland, England and Denmark at the end of August to Gaza and we need to fill it with essential supplies. We have organised several drop off points throughout County Louth and ask that you donate what you can over the next couple of weeks. We need to have everything boxed up and in Dublin before the ship goes.”
The items needed are:
- First Aid kits; bandages, dressings and plasters
- Nappies, cotton wool, baby wipes
- Toys and books for all ages
- Children’s bikes with pump and repair kit if possible
- Clothes for babies and children up to 18 years old.
We ask that you don’t donate cream liquids or tablets. If you wish to donate money, could we ask that you purchase some of the above items and then donate them.
The collection points are:
- Office of Gerry Adams TD, West Street, Drogheda (Mon-Thurs 10am-3pm)
- Community Centre, Muirhevnamor (Mon-Fri 10am-4pm)
- Family Resource Centre, Ard Easmuinn
- Office of Gerry Adams TD, Crowe Street, Dundalk
- Longs Pub, Grange, Carlingford
Quigley ended by saying “we really appreciate anything you can spare.”