Northern Ireland

Yemen bombings: Irish politicians react to ‘dangerous and utterly reckless’ US and UK action

Local politicians question the move from the UK and US governments to bomb Yemen despite the ongoing conflict in the Middle East

An RAF Typhoon aircraft returns to base in Cyprus after striking targets in Yemen (Sgt Lee Goddard/Ministry of Defence via AP)
An RAF Typhoon aircraft returns to base in Cyprus after striking targets in Yemen An RAF Typhoon aircraft returns to base in Cyprus after striking targets in Yemen (Sgt Lee Goddard/Ministry of Defence via AP) (Sgt Lee Goddard/AP)

Politicians from both sides of the border have voiced their opinion on the UK and US government’s decision to carry out bombings in Yemen.

The attacks were in response to multiple attacks from the Houthis movement, which is an Iranian-backed Islamic organisation.

People Before Profit MLA Gerry Carrol has voiced his disapproval of the bombings, labelling them a “dangerous and utterly reckless escalation” of the ongoing conflict in the region.

Mr Carroll said: “The British and US governments are pouring more petrol on the fire in a situation where tens of thousands have already been killed and millions displaced under hail of bombs.”



Houthis have previously voiced support for Hamas, the Islamic group that governs the Gaza Strip region of Palestine.

Hamas launched a series of attacks on Israel, killing around 1,200 people and taking an estimated 240 others hostage, which sparked an offensive move by Israel which is still ongoing and has claimed the lives of at least 17,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza Health Ministry figures, as of December 9.

People Before Profit's Gerry Carroll speaking at the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign rally in Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann
People Before Profit's Gerry Carroll speaking at the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign rally in Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann People Before Profit's Gerry Carroll speaking at the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign rally in Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann

“These imperialist powers [the US and UK] are effectively going to war to defend apartheid Israel’s genocide in Gaza,” Mr Carroll continued.

“Their bombing campaign can only be at the expense of the people of Gaza, and those in Yemen who have already been devastated by Saudi and US military interventions.

“We already witnessed too much death and destruction in the Middle East. Both Britain and the US need to end their hostilities and stop bombing Yemen on behalf of Israel.

“Anti-war activists must continue to build the movement calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, for peace for Yemen, and for an end to this brutal campaign of violence,” he concluded.

DUP Deputy Leader Gavin Robinson is a member of Parliament’s Defence Select Committee and fully backed the Prime Minister’s right to take military action.

The MP for Belfast East said: “Military action is a royal prerogative exercised by the Prime Minister.

Deputy Leader of the DUP Gavin Robinson said there was no basis for joint authority rule in NI
Stormont Assembly Deputy Leader of the DUP Gavin Robinson said there was no basis for joint authority rule in NI (Liam McBurney/PA)

“Whilst Parliament has previously voted on military action, that has not been the normal course of action, but may happen were a longer-term and more significant deployment being considered,” said Mr Robinson.

“The operations in Yemen are limited and targeted strikes against the Houthi rebels. Their attacks on international shipping have affected more than 50 countries.”

“This targeted action does not relate to any other conflict, or represent a threat of further escalation into other areas.”

However, Alliance MP for North Down, Stephen Farry, said: “While the US and UK actions in Yemen may be appropriate and consistent with UN Security Council resolutions and wider international law, they can’t be looked at in isolation.

“Set alongside the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, people will rightly ask how the US and UK can find the resolve to strike against the Houthis but cannot call for a ceasefire in Gaza, when we are seeing ongoing massive breaches of international humanitarian law.

Stephen Farry (PA)
Stephen Farry (PA) Stephen Farry (PA)

“Questions remain over the underlying rationale and what is the wider strategy for peace and stability in the Middle East.”

Across the border, Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy has called for peace on both sides of the incident.

“The attacks on vessels in the Red Sea and the commencement of US & British missile attacks in Yemen crystalise the need for urgent de-escalation across the Middle East,” said the spokesperson for Sinn Féin on Foreign Affairs.

“Above all, Israel must stop the bombardment of Gaza and its ongoing assault on Palestinian territory in both Gaza and the West Bank.

“International pressure must be brought to bear to this end and Ireland can play a leadership role in that including by supporting the South African case against Israel at the ICJ.”

Across the Irish Sea, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak defended his actions, saying that the UK will “always stand up for freedom of navigation and the free flow of trade”.