Norris urges end of 'cynical' Holocaust exploitation by Israel


SEANAD:DAVID NORRIS (Ind) called on the Israeli authorities to end their “cynical, heartless and contemptible exploitation of the Holocaust for their own political purposes. This lets us all down, including those tragic victims of Auschwitz and all the other terrible camps”.

Mr Norris said he utterly condemned the recent murderous assault on the Gaza-bound peace flotilla, “where, in what was the equivalent of Bloody Sunday for the Israelis, a group almost equal in numbers of innocent, peaceful protesters against an outrage against humanity in Gaza were slaughtered by Israeli commandos”.

He welcomed the Government’s expulsion of an Israeli diplomat to demonstrate this country’s complete disapproval of the way in which the Israeli authorities had wrongly used passports of friendly countries to murder a Hamas person in a third country. The worst aspect was the use by Mossad agents of false information to obtain special German passports on the basis that those involved were the children of Holocaust survivors. That was a betrayal of all those who had been murdered by the Nazis.

A senior Fianna Fáil member abstained in two votes on report stage amendments proposed, unsuccessfully, by Fine Gael to the Dog Breeding Establishments Bill. Having heard Minister for the Environment John Gormley outline amendments which he would make to the Bill in the Dáil, Denis O’Donovan said members were being asked by the Minister to take a leap of faith that the Bill would be amended prior to being brought back to the Seanad to be rubber stamped. He found that unacceptable. Whatever amendments were contemplated should have been put to the House yesterday. He had supported the purpose of the Bill, which was to outlaw puppy farms. But the over-regulation being proposed would damage the greyhound industry.

The Bill was passed by 31 votes to 16.

Maurice Cummins (FG) had complained earlier that the procedure being adopted by the Minister showed contempt for the House, whether Mr Gormley believed it or not.

Mr Gormley said the Irish Greyhound Board and the Irish Coursing Club continued to raise concerns about the potential harm the Bill might cause. He proposed introducing a review clause to examine the impact of the legislation after 12 months. The amendments to be introduced represented, in his view, a significant concession to the stakeholders.

Irish politicians could learn a lesson from the “breath-taking” statement made by British prime minister David Cameron over Bloody Sunday, Joe O’Toole (Ind) said. Joining in calls for a debate on the Saville report, Mr O’Toole said it was not easy for any sovereign government to admit to a mistake. “I think there’s a lesson there that could be learned by politicians on this island as well.”

Eoghan Harris (Ind) was concerned that in the tributes to Saville and David Cameron, “we would forget that those who died in Derry were not the only ones who died”. There was a need to understand the feelings of the Protestant community when they looked at what had happened in Derry last Tuesday.