Green Party TDs and Senators urge ministers to use ‘soft power’ for Gaza on St Patrick’s Day

Backbenchers write to Government asking it to use ‘powerful voice’ to help achieve ceasefire

Backbench Green Party members have called on the Government to use its “soft power” on St Patrick’s Day trips to ramp up political pressure for international action on the Gaza crisis.

In a letter sent to the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Ministers on Wednesday, a group of Green Party TDs and Senators argued that the trips should be used to “reiterate the position of the Irish Government” on the conflict.

“Ireland has always been a powerful voice for peace on the international stage. You, as representatives of the Irish people, have an important opportunity to carry that message on our behalf to political leaders across the world in the coming weeks,” they wrote.

The Opposition has been putting pressure on the Government not to attend the traditional St Patrick’s Day shamrock ceremony in the White House, or to use it to raise concern about continued US support for Israel. Sinn Féin has also faced calls not to engage with representatives of the current US administration as part of its traditional St Patrick’s Day travel programme.


The Green backbenchers behind the appeal include party whip Marc Ó Cathasaigh; TDs Patrick Costello, Francis Noel Duffy, Brian Leddin and Steven Matthews; and Senators Róisín Garvey, Pauline O’Reilly and Vincent P Martin.

Mr Leddin, a TD for Limerick, said: “We’ve talked before of the soft diplomatic power that Ireland wields, especially with the United States of America, and St Patrick’s Day now affords us with an opportunity of access that we must use for good – to achieve an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

“I met with UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini this morning and we must do all we can working with our partner parliamentarians across Europe, to not only push for a ceasefire, but to also make sure we plan now for a rapid rebuilding programme of hospitals and schools in Gaza.”

In the letter, they wrote that “all right thinking people” abhor the atrocities committed by Hamas in its October 7th attack and the ongoing keeping of hostages taken during those raids.

However, they say that the response of Israel has been “indiscriminate and disproportionate, with an entirely blameless civilian population being subjected to what amounts to collective punishment.

“Alongside the unspeakable tragedy of the mounting death toll, the physical and mental trauma being inflicted on Palestinians who will survive this conflict, the forced displacement of an entire population and the widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure will have a profound adverse impact on a whole generations of Gazans.”

They are calling on Ministers to outline that there should be an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, that all participants in the conflict should be held to account for their actions under humanitarian law and for an immediate release of all hostages held in Gaza.

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Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times