A Fianna Fáil councillor said he voted against a recent proposal by Dublin City Council to fly Palestine’s flag in response to a UN “diktat” invoked by Micheál Martin and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
In audio heard by The Ditch, Daryl Barron, a representative for Donaghmede, said he and colleagues had recently spoken with both tánaiste Micheál Martin and the DFA – who advised them to vote against the motion.
Barron also suggested that flying a Palestine flag in Dublin could potentially result in violent reprisals against Irish peacekeeping troops in Lebanon.
Last year he voted in favour of a Dublin City Council motion to fly a Ukraine flag over both Dublin City Hall and the Mansion House.
‘I wouldn’t want a target on their back’
Barron, who was appointed Peace Commissioner for Dublin by the Department of Justice in 2017, said he decided to vote against the proposal after discussions with Micheál Martin and the Department of Foreign Affairs.
He also said he thought there was a potential threat to Irish peacekeeping troops in Lebanon if councillors voted in favour of the motion.
“We asked the Department of Foreign Affairs and we asked the tánaiste… the diktat is legislation around flying flags – there’s a UN contravention on it,” he said. “...They gave us a direct diktat that we should not be supporting this. We have UN peacekeepers going over to Lebanon; we’ve people going over there. Before they’ve indirectly targeted Irish people because of the stuff we've done with the Israelis and Hamas, and in previous years, Hezbollah.”
Barron voted last year to fly the Ukraine flag over Dublin City Hall and the Mansion House as a gesture of solidarity with Ukrainians resisting Russian invasion. Further discussing his vote against raising the Palestine flag, Barron said he personally knows a person who has worked as a UN peacekeeper and that he’s concerned for their safety.
“I wouldn’t want a target on their back,” he said, later adding, “I don’t think it’s very very important or a good idea to be flying flags regardless of the situation. I don’t want to think our city would be the city that is being targeted, or Irish citizens being targeted because of actions that politicians are doing that have zero bearing on the thousands being killed in Israel by Hamas and Israel.”
Israel’s ambassador to Ireland Dana Erlich earlier this week sent an email to Dublin city councillors asking them to vote against the motion. She also said Palestine solidarity marchers have “pro-Hamas, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic elements” in their ranks.
About 40 Irish passport holders are yet to be included in the list of nationalities allowed to leave Gaza. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar denied in the Dáil on Wednesday afternoon that the omission is retribution for government statements criticising the Israeli government and calling for a ceasefire.
Barron, the Embassy of Israel in Ireland and the Department of Foreign Affairs have been contacted for comment.