Long standing anti-war campaigner welcomes Derry MP's St Patrick's Day White House boycott

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A veteran Derry anto-war campaigner has welcomed the confirmation from Derry’s MP that he will not be visiting the White House events this St Patrick’s Day given the US stance over the war on Gaza and weapons supply to Israel.

Frankie McMenamin however said he was saddened and disappointed that Sinn Féin representatives would be travelling to Washington D.C. for the events.

Mr McMenamin, who was one of those at the helm of the anti-war movement in Derry during the Iraq War and the visit by Presdient George W Bush to Ireland, urged all politicians to boycott the traditional US trip to send a powerful, clear and unequivocal message that Ireland is utterly opposed to the ongoing bombing and killing of civilians in Palestine.

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He said: “I very much welcome Colum Eastwood’s statement that he will not be going to the White House on St Patrick’s Day.

A recent mass rally in protest over the war on Gaza in Derry.A recent mass rally in protest over the war on Gaza in Derry.
A recent mass rally in protest over the war on Gaza in Derry.

"I am disappointed in Sinn Féin’s decision to go to meet the US administration. Sinn Féin are talking about peace in the Middle East yet America is still supplying Israel with most of the weapons and money to go to war. The American government won’t condemn what is going on or even call for a ceasefire. That’s more than enough reason not to go.”

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Derry & Strabane Council meeting disrupted as vote on boycotting U.S. on St Patr...

Mr Menamin’s comments come after a Derry City & Strabane District Council meeting was halted on Wednesday last after protesters in the Council chambers’ public gallery expressed their frustration following an unsuccessful motion, which called for all political parties to boycott St Patrick’s Day celebrations at the White House due to the Gaza conflict.

The motion, by People Before Profit Councillor Shaun Harkin, proposed that the Council write to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and all political parties in Ireland, calling on them not to attend the celebrations or “meet with President Joe Biden or any representative of his administration as part of the St Patrick’s Day events”.

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Derry MP, SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood.Derry MP, SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood.
Derry MP, SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood.

Colr. Harkin said: “When Biden was brought here on the 25th anniversary of the Peace Process, he made a speech about fighting for peace across the World. But it is clear that he is the main sponsor of what’s happening in Gaza.”

Sinn Féin Councillor Christopher Jackson said his party stood “unequivocally with the Palestinian people”, and argued that Sinn Féin would “continue to raise the obscenity of the genocide at Gaza” during all of their international engagements.

“We have to use all of our influence to press for a ceasefire,” Colr. Jackson said. “So Sinn Féin representatives will travel to the US on St Patrick’s Day."

Derry’s MP Colum Eastwood meanwhile has confirmed that he will not attend White House events in the US this St Patrick’s Day as Gaza is being razed to the ground while the American administration ‘turns its face the other way’.

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He said: “The scenes of destruction and annihilation in Gaza represent, in my view, a clear act of genocide. With more than 26,000 people dead, and more than 10,000 of them children, the response of the international community has been heinously deficient. The response of the US administration has been particularly atrocious.”