Northern Ireland

MLAs back call for immediate ceasefire in Gaza

Assembly debated SDLP opposition motion on Tuesday

SDLP MLA Matthew O’Toole asked about the devolution of more fiscal powers to Stormont
Leader of the SDLP opposition at Stormont, Matthew O’Toole. (David Young/PA)

A motion at the Stormont Assembly calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza has been backed by a majority of MLAs.

Tuesday’s motion was brought to the chamber by the SDLP opposition, and along with calling for a ceasefire it urged MLAs to oppose the Israeli ground assault in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where over a million Palestinians are sheltering.

A total of 70 MLAs voted, with 44 backing the motion and 26 opposing it.

First Minister Michelle O’Neill and deputy First Minister Emma Little-Pengelly were absent for the motion, which also called for them to write to British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to outline the Assembly’s support for the aims.

SDLP opposition leader at Stormont, Matthew O’Toole said: “Given our experience and what we have learned in a different context, we should all be willing to stand over the motion, express our solidarity with those who have experienced unimaginable pain, trauma and loss in the past number of months and say that now is the time, finally, to move beyond violence and vengeance and towards peace.”