Dún Laoghaire council votes to support boycott, divestment and sanctions on Israel

Council condemns ‘the continual bombardment by Israeli forces in Gaza’ and calls for release of all hostages

A majority of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown county councillors have voted in favour of “boycott, divestment and sanctions” against Israel.

The motion proposed by Melisa Halpin, Hugh Lewis and Dave Quinn on Monday night committed the council to “formally support” the international BDS movement. BDS is a Palestinian-led movement founded in 2005 that calls for measures against Israel “until it complies with international law and universal principles of human rights”.

Cllr Halpin of People Before Profit said the BDS movement was a “Dunnes Stores strike-style movement”, a reference to an action by Dunnes Stores workers in 1984 in which a number of women employees refused to handle produce from apartheid South Africa.

Dublin City Council has backed BDS since 2018.


Fianna Fáil councillor Michael Clark recommended support for the motion as he said it related to “a peaceful campaign for change”.

Cllr John Kennedy of Fine Gael told the meeting he was “disappointed” by the motion. Mr Kennedy said he and other members of the council had significant motions on the council agenda for a year or more, and many of these had not been reached.

The motion to support the boycott, divestment and sanctions was carried by 23 votes to 13 with three abstentions.

Members also voted in favour a motion tabled by Cathaoirleach Denis O’Callaghan of the Labour Party condemning “the continual bombardment by Israeli forces in Gaza resulting in the deaths of thousands of innocent people including children”.

The motion also reiterated “the position of the Irish Government that international law must be observed when countries are engaged in military conflicts and shares the concern of our Government in relation to possible breaches of international law, including International humanitarian law”.

In addition, the council urged the release of all civilian hostages held by Hamas and Israel as well as the declaration of an immediate ceasefire.

Councillor O’Callaghan’s motion was passed by 27 votes to 11, with one abstention.

* The article was edited on November 14th to reflect the misattribution of a quote

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist