RTÉ inviting submissions for Eurovision songs despite calls for Israeli boycott

Broadcaster looking for ‘world-class act’ to represent Ireland in Tel Aviv in 2019

Dee Forbes:  RTÉ’s  director general received a petition with 11,000 signatures from the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign  calling on the broadcaster to boycott the event in Israel.

Dee Forbes: RTÉ’s director general received a petition with 11,000 signatures from the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign calling on the broadcaster to boycott the event in Israel.

 

RTÉ has invited songwriters and performers to submit songs for the Eurovision Song Contest despite calls for the event in Israel to be boycotted.

Songwriters have until 5pm on Friday November 23rd to submit their entries for the 65th version of the competition which takes place in Tel Aviv next May.

Former winner Charlie McGettigan, former Eurovision presenters Carrie Crowley and Doireann Ní Bhriain, musicians Christy Moore, Mary Black, Paul Brady and Steve Wall and both the Musicians’ Union of Ireland and Irish Equity have called for a boycott of Eurovision 2019 in solidarity with the people of Palestine.

Last week members of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign handed in a petition to RTÉ director-general Dee Forbes with 11,000 signatures calling on the broadcaster to boycott the event in Israel.

RTÉ has decided to go ahead with selecting Ireland’s entry. Last year Ryan O’Shaughnessy broke a four-year losing streak in which Ireland failed to qualify for the Eurovision final.

O’Shaughnessy’s song Together finished 16th in the final, Ireland’s highest placing since Jedward finished eighth with Lipstick in 2011.

In August RTÉ held its second Eurovision forum. The first in 2017 was convened to try and find out why Ireland had turned from being serial successes in the competition to serial failures.

At the second Eurovision forum in August, RTÉ’s executive producer Martin Kealy said the contest has a huge youth viewership and that younger songwriters and singers would need to be considered when choosing a song.

Mr Kealy said Ireland needs a “world-class act” who is used to performing live in front of large audiences and a song with “instant appeal”.

RTÉ has not announced the format for choosing the winning song though the idea of a return to a national final was raised at the Eurovision forum in August.