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Liadh Ni Riada MEP
Liadh Ni Riada MEP

UCC’s postponement of Israel conference “stamps out debate”

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has expressed concern over what she calls “steps to stamp out discussion and debate" over the prevention of a conference discussing the legitimacy of the State of Israel.

The conference entitled ‘International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism’ had been due to take place in late March at UCC.

"The UCC University Management Team have given very odd reasons for preventing this event from taking place,” said Ms Ní Riada.

"Universities are supposed to be places of learning where people challenge their own preconceptions as much as the preconceptions of others. We have an outstanding network of universities across Ireland and UCC is a particular source of pride for this part of the country.

"I sincerely hope UCC will reconsider their approach to this event and retain their long standing reputation for courageously examining complex subjects free from outside interference."

UCC management issued a statement last week saying they were “dissapointed” that the conference had not been been the subject of a “formal request for approval” by the organisers and added the proposed dates were not suitable as they would cause disruption during the academic year.

“The proposed event is not a University-sponsored or promoted event but has been invited to the University by a number of academic staff holding positions within the University,” read the statement.

“The proposed dates of the conference i.e. 31st March – 2nd April ’17 are during term time. The Western Gateway Building will be fully operational on those dates with potential disruption of access to students and staff arising from the conference. The conference is not permitted to proceed on the dates proposed which are in term.” 

The conference had previously been organised at Southampton University in 2015 but was cancelled over security concerns.