Irish News

FF push to condemn Christian persecution as ‘genocide’

John Reid

Fianna Fáil is hopeful that the persecution of Christians in the Middle East will be condemned as a genocide, in a new Dáil motion due to be put before the house before the summer.

Speaking to The Irish Catholic, Fianna Fáil’s spokesman on Foreign Affairs, Darragh O’Brien, said that he is in regular contact with his Dáil colleagues and that “things are progressing well” in regard to the motion, with Fianna Fáil being “absolutely committed” to tabling and passing it. Deputy O’Brien stated that it was “his preference” that the persecution and killing of Christians in the Middle East would be condemned as “genocide”.

He said he is eager that there would be consensus across the Dáil on the motion, so that Ireland’s parliament would be seen around the world as having spoken with “one voice” on the issue of Christian persecution. 

Bombing

Deputy O’Brien spoke of how the issue is “very close to his own heart”, after a visit he undertook to Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo, last January, which is where 29 people were killed in an attack last December and where Deputy O’Brien met with the local bishop and with the priest who was actually saying Mass at the time of the suicide bombing which killed so many Christians that day.

Deputy O’Brien said that a reason for the delay is that other parties around the Dáil wanted to “throw everything into the pot” with regard to the persecution of other religious groups as well, but that this then “waters down the motion”. Fianna Fail believes that two separate motions are needed: one being a quite specific motion dealing with the issue of Christian persecution, and a second motion dealing with the treatment of other minorities, such as the Yazidis for example.

Deputy O’Brien concluded by saying that it was important that Ireland was not “one of the few parliaments in Europe that actually don’t recognise” the widespread persecution of Christians in the Middle East.