Disquiet as Lord Mayor agrees to meet Israeli ambassador on Palestinian solidarity day

Fianna Fáil’s Daithí de Róiste wants to ‘express disgust’ at ‘genocide’ but others oppose meeting

Lord Mayor of Dublin Daithí de Róiste has agreed to a request from Israeli ambassador Dana Erlich to host a meeting with her and city councillors on United Nations International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People next Wednesday.

Several councillors said they would not attend the meeting due to the significance of the day.

Earlier this month a proposal to fly a Palestinian flag over Dublin City Hall on Dame Street as “an act of solidarity with the people of Gaza” and a “public display of opposition to the murder of Palestinian civilians” was rejected, despite the majority of councillors voting in favour of the proposal.

An emergency motion to fly the flag was proposed by the Independent group on the council and was supported by Sinn Féin, the Green Party, Labour, Social Democrats and People before Profit. However, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael councillors either rejected or abstained on the vote.


While 39 of the 57 councillors at the monthly city council meeting supported the motion, the support of three quarters was required for it to pass because it was an emergency motion.

The vote followed an appeal by Ms Erlich to “examine the full facts of the current tragic conflict, which was instigated by the Hamas terrorist organisation” before deciding to fly the flag.

Ms Erlich also requested a meeting with Mr De Róiste to discuss “certain issues relating to events taking place in Dublin in the context of the Israel-Hamas war”, according to an email sent by the Lord Mayor’s office to the leaders of each of the political groups on the council and the Independent group leader Cieran Perry.

On Tuesday night Mr De Róiste confirmed the meeting had been set up at the ambassador’s request. “The Israeli Ambassador contacted the Mansion House for a meeting with me as Lord Mayor,” he said.

“I raised this at group leaders meeting [with leaders of all political parties and independents]. I expressed that I was happy to refuse this request, or if it was the opinion of group leaders to go ahead with the meeting where we could collectively express our disgust with their actions of genocide in Gaza,” he said.

“It was unanimously agreed to go ahead with the meeting by all present and that group leaders of all parties and independents would join the meeting in the Mansion House. This was also minuted.”

However, Sinn Féin group leader Daithí Doolan on Tuesday wrote to Mr De Róiste to say he would not attend. “I will not be attending. I have realised that this date, Nov 29th, is the UN International Day of Solidarity with Palestine. I think it would be inappropriate to meet the Israeli Ambassador on this day considering what is happening in Palestine at this time. I would urge An tArd Mheara to seriously reconsider the invite.”

Mr Perry said he would have had “no problem meeting her and asking her why she is complicit in genocide but not on Palestinian day, and I’m sure she knows that”.

Labour’s group leader Dermot Lacey said his “instinct is always to talk” but he wanted to consult his colleagues before deciding.

Deirdre Heney of Fianna Fáil said she planned to attend, while James Geoghegan of Fine Gael could not be contacted on Tuesday night.

Mr De Róiste said the date had been chosen by a member of staff in the mansion house, and that he would be happy to change the day.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times