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‘No sense’ to boycott St Patrick’s Day trip to US over support for Israel

An Irish flag flies outside the White House during a previous visit (PA)
An Irish flag flies outside the White House during a previous visit (PA)

Ireland’s deputy premier has said it would not make sense to boycott the annual St Patrick’s Day trip to Washington over US support for Israel, adding: “You have to engage.”

Micheal Martin said the Irish government will instead continue its dialogue and engagement with other countries in a bid to increase pressure and end the violence in the Middle East.

Asked whether Ireland should boycott the traditional trip to the White House for St Patrick’s Day, Mr Martin said: “That doesn’t make sense. You have to engage.

“The only way to increase pressure, the only way you can get a resolution on this is to get international pressure that is so overwhelming that there is a stop to the violence.

“It is clear that the US administration is now seeking to not only get an end to violence, but also to create political track to ensure that there is a Palestinian state, that we get a two-state solution to this.

“People take this very seriously and people are very worried about what is happening in the Middle East, not least because too many citizens are being killed and too many children are being killed, but also regional escalation is happening.

Then-taoiseach Leo Varadkar (right) presents US President Joe Biden with a bowl of shamrock during a St Patrick’s Day celebration reception at the White House in 2023
Then-taoiseach Leo Varadkar (right) presents US President Joe Biden with a bowl of shamrock during a St Patrick’s Day celebration reception at the White House in 2023 (PA)

“We have the Houthis firing missiles at unarmed merchant ships, disrupting trade and economy.

“We are worried about what could in Lebanon.

“This could get much worse and therefore everyone is seized by the gravity what is happening in Palestine.

“The idea that Ireland would just retreat from any engagement to me doesn’t make sense.

“I don’t subscribe to that view. We believe dialogue and engaging with countries.”