Delay ‘not credible any longer’: Recognition of state of Palestine expected in coming weeks

Ireland and some EU states set to announce formal recognition once peace initiative with Israel – expected within weeks – is under way

The Government will formally recognise the state of Palestine in a long-awaited move expected to take place in the coming weeks.

Hours after Simon Harris was elected Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin told the Dáil the approach of delaying recognition “is not credible or tenable any longer”.

He said he had been in discussions about recognition with other countries involved in peace initiatives in Gaza, adding: “It is my intention to bring to Government a formal proposal on recognition when these wider international discussions are complete.

“But be in no doubt, recognition of a Palestinian state will happen,” Mr Martin said.


It is understood that Ireland and some other EU states will announce formal recognition of Palestine once a peace initiative – expected in the coming weeks – is under way. Sources were reluctant to put a date on this but said it would be “sooner rather than later”, and was a matter of weeks rather than months.

Mr Martin said he had been in discussions with other EU and Arab foreign ministers about how “a joint formal recognition of Palestinian statehood could be a catalyst to help the people of Gaza and the West Bank and in furthering an Arab-led peace initiative”.

It is understood Mr Martin has recently been in discussions with the foreign ministers of Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and well as “like-minded EU countries” including Spain, Slovenia, Malta and Belgium, on the initiative.

Mr Harris is to travel to Brussels, Belgium, on Thursday for discussions with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, and later to Warsaw, Poland, where he will meet with European Council head Charles Michel and several EU prime ministers, including Polish leader Donald Tusk. They are expected to discuss the situation in Gaza and the proposed recognition of Palestine.

On Friday, Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez will become the first foreign leader to visit Mr Harris in Dublin, when the two men will also discuss plans for the joint recognition.

As expected, Mr Harris was comfortably elected Taoiseach by the Dáil yesterday afternoon with a majority of 19 votes, having secured the support of several Independent TDs to bolster the Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael-Green numbers.

“This is very much a partnership Government, and I intend to lead it in the spirit of unity and collaboration and mutual respect,” he said.

Later, having been formally appointed to the role by President Michael D Higgins, Mr Harris named his new Cabinet, promoting Longford-Westmeath deputy Peter Burke as Minister for Enterprise and Limerick TD Patrick O’Donovan as Minister for Higher Education.

Hildegarde Naughton remains as chief whip, but with an expanded role as Minister of State for Special Education and Inclusion, while, as expected, Paschal Donohoe, Heather Humphreys and Helen McEntee – along with all the Green and Fianna Fáil Ministers – remain in their previous roles.

There will be a significant shake up of Fine Gael Ministers of State on Wednesday. It is expected that all will move positions from their current roles.

Sources expect Dublin Rathdown TD Neale Richmond to be appointed as Minister of State (or junior minister) for Finance on Wednesday.

He is set to replace Jennifer Carroll McNeill at the Department of Finance, who was named as the new Minister of State for European Affairs. Other junior minister roles are expected to be announced today, with backbenchers Colm Burke of Cork North-Central, Dublin Mid-West TD Emer Higgins and Mayo’s Alan Dillon tipped by colleagues for promotion.

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy is Political Editor of The Irish Times

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times