Dáil silent on Gaza attrition, says Dukes

SF gesture ‘opportunistic and shambolic’ former FG leader tells summer school

Alan Dukes said the differency between the EU and other countries on the financial crisis had been the ‘tardiness of the response’.

Alan Dukes said the differency between the EU and other countries on the financial crisis had been the ‘tardiness of the response’.

Sat, Jul 26, 2014, 01:00

The Dáil has said nothing about the “barbarities” being perpetrated on the people of Gaza from two sides, apart from “one opportunistic and shambolic gesture by one party”, former Fine Gael leader Alan Dukes told the MacGill Summer School in Glenties, Co Donegal, yesterday.

He was referring to the Dáil’s observance of a minute’s silence in solidarity with the people of Gaza and the Middle East earlier this month.

Ministers and TDs stood in response to a proposal from Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams who had a copy of the Palestinian flag, as had other members of his party.

Mr Dukes said the Oireachtas had not, as far as he knew, expressed any view on the level of sanctions the European Union should apply to the Russian Federation in response to its activities in relation to Ukraine.

Nor had it expressed a view on “the level of inconvenience the EU should be prepared to bear in order to mark its seriousness about insisting to UN conventions and other internationally-binding agreements’’.

‘Contradictory views’

“These are two of many issues where a concerted EU view could carry greater weight than the frequently contradictory views of individual member states,” he told the summer school’s session on the future of the EU.

On the financial crisis, Mr Dukes said the “glaring difference” between the EU and the US and Britain in dealing with the financial collapse was in the “tardiness of the response”.

“The political leadership of the EU has not been particularly notable for its foresight. Neither the European Council nor the European Commission can claim to have seen the financial crisis coming – any more than can the European Parliament, ” he said.

“Again, the EU is not alone in this: the US and UK authorities were taken by surprise by the suddenness and the depth of the crisis, as were the Asian Tigers in their day.”

He said the first manifestations of the crisis were obvious in late 2007. “The full force of the implosion became apparent in the autumn of 2008. It was not until the spring of 2010 that the EU authorities were able to agree to take any action in Greece, the country where the crisis appeared to have hit hardest,” he said.