‘We could have sank at sea’ - aid boat sabotage slammed

Sinn Fein Councillor Gerry MacLochlainn pictured on board the MV Saoirse in Turkey before the boat was sabotaged. (50711JC4)

Sinn Fein Councillor Gerry MacLochlainn pictured on board the MV Saoirse in Turkey before the boat was sabotaged. (50711JC4)

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Sinn Fein Councillor Gerry MacLochlainn has called upon to Irish government to intervene and protect Irish citizens after an act of sabotage on board one of the ‘Freedom Flotilla’ ships put lives in grave danger.

Colr MacLochlainn and fellow traveller Charlie McMenamin have just returned from the Mediterranean where they were among twenty Irish people on board one of the ‘Freedom Flotilla ships docked in the Mediterranean sea attempting to break the Israeli blockade and get aid to Gaza.

However, their boat, the MV Saoirse, was, they believe, badly sabotaged by Israeli agents, forcing them to abandon their efforts.

Colr MacLochlainn has just returned from his second attempt to get to Gaza, having managed to board another ship in the flotilla in an attempt to get to Gaza. He then transferred to Greece where he was to board another boat to Gaza. It was not to be.

“The Greek authorities seized and raided a US boat at sea and arrested its captain, who is now in jail. Despite protests, they also impounded all other boats and subsequently announced that they were not going to allow any boats to leave Greece for Gaza. If it wasn’t for the Greek government banning boats, I would be in Gaza today.”

Colr MacLochlainn has vowed to continue his efforts to enter Gaza and colleagues are currently waiting for the Irish boat to be repaired.

“We’re very lucky they didn’t sink it,” he added. “There is no question that this was sabotage. The Israelis cut a V-shaped cut into the boat’s propeller shaft which means that shaft would have snapped at sea and went up through the ship’s hull, probably killing everyone on board. We were then contacted by a Greek boat and they had a photo of the damage done to their own boat - it showed the exact same V-shaped fault.”

Colr MacLochlainn is in no doubt that the trip could have ended in tragedy and the incident has been reported to the Turkish authorities.

“We could have sank at sea and no-one would ever have known what caused it. This was the attempted murder of twenty Irish citizens - it’s a disgrace. We need the Irish government to step up now and get the Israeli government to show respect to fellow countries and their citizens. The have no respect for any country in the world and are prepared to murder Irish citizens if we oppose their genocide in Gaza. Our government must protect us.”