News & Media

Coveney takes unprecedented vow of silence on Iranian crisis – not the stuff of a country aspiring to security council membership

8 January 2020

Statement by Brendan Howlin TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Northern Ireland

Labour Party Leader Brendan Howlin has described the Government and Minister Simon Coveney’s failure to make any meaningful comment on events unfolding in the Gulf as extremely disappointing for a Government seeking a seat for Ireland on the UN Security Council.

Deputy Howlin said:

“Minister Coveney appears to have taken a vow of silence on the assassination of Iranian General Soleimani, and the Taoiseach has only said the government is ‘very much concerned’ about escalating tensions in the Middle East.

“The Government’s policy of plámásing President Trump has gone too far at this stage. Minister Coveney rightly criticised the attacks on the US embassy in Iraq last week but has taken a vow of silence on the assassination of an Iranian General and a senior Iraqi officer. It is both surprising and disappointing.

“We are now at an extremely dangerous point and the indiscriminate threats now emanating from both sides make conflict likely. We have already seen rocket attacks by Iran on US bases in Iraq in reprisal for the US drone attack.

"The Irish Government should be a strong voice for restraint and adherence to international law, particularly with the United States with whom we have a close historical friendship. The Government wants to sit at the top table of international affairs, where we have built up credibility in the UN by promoting dialogue and peace making. Minister Coveney risks shredding Ireland’s international credibility as an independent and neutral state.

"The Irish Government is very late in adding its voice to others urging restraint but even at this stage, late would be better than never.”