Labour leader will march in Dublin anti-war protest
The Labour leader Mr Pat Rabbitte has said he will march in tonight's anti-war protest in Dublin.
Mr Rabbitte said he would be joined by the four Labour Party chairs elected in recent days to each of the Dublin local authorities, Councillors Michael Conaghan, Lord Mayor of Dublin, Niamh Bhreathnach of Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown, Peter Coyle of Fingal County Council and Robert Dowds of South Dublin County Council.
Speaking before the protest, Mr Rabbitte said: "This is an opportunity for the people of Dublin and of
Ireland to send a powerful message to the President of the United States. It is not enough for
government ministers to tell the media that they are "shocked" at the level of human rights abuse that must be laid at the door of the American administration, while the Government as a whole goes through the motions of a "full and frank exchange of views" with the President."
Mr Rabbitte said "a massive, over-the-top and quite draconian" security operation had been put in place to ensure Mr Bush is fully insulated from "even the hint of democratic protest".
He said the protest was not a march against the American people because Irish people "greatly value" the links with America.
"It is a march against a dangerous and pernicious approach to the conduct of foreign policy, an approach that has already cost thousands of lives and given sustenance to an often barbaric response."
Meanwhile, the Labour Party TD and anti-war campaigner Mr Michael D Higgins has said US president Mr George W. Bush is not welcome in Ireland and that his war on Iraq is wrong.
Mr Higgins said it was important to oppose the war on grounds of international law, on grounds of morality and because it "cries out against the most basic principles of our common humanity.
"All over the world people in their millions have condemned with their feet, and in public, this appalling abuse of military power. Iraqi civilians, children, women and men have died," the Labour spokesman on foreign affairs said.
"By allowing the use of Shannon airport the Irish Government is complicit in this illegal war - a war justified on a unique mountain of lies to parliaments in the US and the UK and memorably to the United Nations itself," Mr Higgins said.
Mr Higgins said that by protesting, we were "celebrating our solidarity" with those in the United States who "bear the burden of an administration whose foreign policy is destabilising the world and making US citizens all over the world into objects of hate.
"Your war is wrong - all war is wrong and on all of these grounds George Bush, you are not welcome in Ireland."