Dáil passes law prohibiting Israeli goods from occupied territories

A 'free Palestine' display on Black Mountain last year. Picture by Mal McCann
A 'free Palestine' display on Black Mountain last year. Picture by Mal McCann

THE Dáil has passed legislation to prohibit the import of Israeli goods produced in the occupied Palestinian territories by 78 votes to 45.

The Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill was initiated in the Seanad last year by independent senator Frances Black.

In earlier debates on the bill, Tánaiste Simon Coveney said the Attorney General had advised it was not legally implementable because trade was an EU competence and not an Irish one.

But Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins, who introduced the bill to the Dáil, described it as "a modest bill that seeks to uphold international law".

Ahead of the vote, Catholic bishops Noel Treanor, of the Down and Connor diocese, and Alan McGuckian SJ, of the Raphoe diocese in Co Donegal, urged TDs to support the bill.

"Let us be under no illusions – the products we buy from these settlements deprive Palestinians of their homes, their farms and their livelihoods," they said in a letter to The Irish Times.

"Trade with settlements in the Occupied Territories legitimises their existence and ignores international law.

"Therefore it is necessary to be consistent in ensuring that products produced or manufactured in these settlements do not end up for sale in shops and supermarkets in Ireland."