CORK City Council is to debate calls for an Irish boycott of the Eurovision song contest which will be held in Israel from Tuesday night.
Over 11,000 people nationwide have signed an online petition calling on RTÉ to suspend its coverage of this year’s competition due to the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.
Irish artists Sinéad O’Connor and Paul Brady have already decided to boycott Israel, while Sligo County Council has supported a motion calling on the national broadcaster to not broadcast the event.
Irish-Palestinian solidarity groups have also staged protests outside the broadcaster’s Monstrose headquarters.
On Monday night, Cork City Council will discuss a motion put forward by Councillor Mick Nugent (SF) asking the Irish entry to the competition to pull out of the competition.
Mr Nugent’s motion reads: “That Cork City Council calls for the Irish entry to withdraw from the Eurovision contest which is taking place in Israel following the most recent assault on the Gaza strip resulting in yet more civilian deaths. There are also concerns that the Eurovision will be a propaganda tool for the Israeli Government at a time when international attention has switched off from efforts to establish peace in the region.”
Israel’s ambassador to Ireland Ophir Kariv has condemned calls for boycotts and said they are only coming from a small minority.
Ireland has only missed two competitions in 1983, due to a strike at RTÉ, and 2002 when Ireland did not qualify to participate.
The country will be represented by Clare singer Sarah McTernan, a former contestant in the RTÉ show the Voice of Ireland. She will take to the stage in Tel Aviv for the semi-final on Thursday night. Ireland hasn’t won the competition since 1996.
The competition was held in Millstreet in 1993 when Ireland’s entry Niamh Kavanagh won with the song ‘In Your Eyes’.