Seanad to be recalled to discuss Gaza and Ukraine

Sunday 27 July 2014 21.59
Smoke billows from a building hit by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City
Smoke billows from a building hit by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City

The Government is recalling the Seanad from recess to debate the crises in Ukraine and Gaza.

Fine Gael leader in the Seanad Maurice Cummins confirmed the Upper House will sit as soon as procedurally possible, potentially this week.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan will address the chamber.

The move comes after growing pressure from a group of cross-party Senators to have the Seanad recalled.

The group included David Norris, Fianna Fáil, some Labour senators and independents including Fidelma Healy-Eames and Paul Bradford. 

They believed they had the support of 25 of the 60 Senators.

Fianna Fáil Seanad leader Darragh O'Brien said the recall was needed to discuss the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. 

He said that if the parliament remained silent on the issue it would mean that the Irish people were silent on it.

He said that there had been no debate or discussion.

He denied the effort was a stunt.

Last year, Fianna Fáil succeeded in having the Seanad recalled to discuss the organ retention bill. 

Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin are also pushing for the Dáil to be recalled. 

However, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he does not believe it is necessary for the Dáil to return at this point and has said there are ongoing bilateral and EU discussions to address the issue. 

Mr Flanagan recently met the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland and Arab ambassadors to relay the Government's concerns.