The Bill is up for debate in the Seanad tomorrow and if passed will be an important step in making it illegal to purchase goods and services from Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. We have been in close contact with Senator Black’s office throughout the campaign and the Senator also attended a meeting of our Global Solidarity Committee in May.

Congress has been an active supporter of the Bill from the start and has held a number of high level meetings with political leaders, including Fianna Fail foreign affairs spokesperson, Niall Collins and Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin. Given Oireachtas arithmetic, FF support for the Bill was crucial and trade union members across the country played an active role in lobbying their FF TDs in this regard, culminating in the parliamentary party declaring their support last week.

We also briefed our Palestinian counterparts in the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) at last month’s international Labour Conference and General Secretary, Shaher Saed, expressed his full support for our efforts in this regard.

Urging support for the Bill in tomorrow’s crucial debate, Congress general Secretary, Patricia King, stated that no Israeli government has ever shown a sign of halting settlement expansion, a policy which has resulted in approximately 750,000 settlers living in the West Bank, many of them earning a living in various industries producing goods for export to the EU.

The Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill is an opportunity to give concrete expression to the historical support for Palestinian rights in Ireland and is an opportunity to pave the way for third states to fulfil their obligations and responsibilities under international law.