Ireland must join Saudi arms embargo to be ‘champion for peace and human rights’, Sinn Féin MP urges

By Walt Finch


A NORTHERN IRISH MP has called on Dublin to support an embargo on Saudi Arabia and its ‘brutal and illegal’ war on Yemen if it is serious about becoming a global peace broker.

The urging came from Sinn Féin MP John Finucane amid wider calls for the US and UK to stop supplying arms to Saudi Arabia because of its military intervention in Yemen. UNICEF says the situation in Yemen is the largest humanitarian disaster anywhere in the world.

John Finucane, speaking at the Stop The War coalition’s online rally last week, said: “If Dublin is serious about being global peace brokers, then we cannot under any circumstance facilitate any activity that breaches international law. 

“We see US-contracted military planes leaving Shannon airport and the west of Ireland. There is a desperate need for Britain and the US to stop supplying arms.”

And he called on the Irish government to significantly increase humanitarian aid to Yemen and closely monitor the ability for humanitarian assistance to reach vulnerable populations most in need.

Finucane added: “It’s hard to grasp the scale of the number of children, which is one and a half times the total population of the island of Ireland, not having access to clean water.”

Foreign aid is drying up, with only a third of the budget of last year, and over a third of bombing missions striking non-military targets and infrastructure that is essential for the health and wellbeing of millions, according to Finucane.  

He added that 7 million people are facing famine and a recent UNICEF report shows there could be as many as 2.4 million malnourished children by the end of the year.

“Ireland’s recent elevation onto the UN Security Council cannot simply be a matter of national prestige. It’s time for Ireland to do some good and be a champion for peace and human rights.”

Finucane referenced his childhood growing up in Belfast during the Troubles, which in those days he likened to a war zone: “I’ve seen firsthand that no conflict is intractable, no matter how bad things may seem.”

“In the Irish case the US administration and the wider international community, played a vital role in bridging dialogue and facilitating efforts towards a lasting peace. They can do so again, and they must do so again.” 

The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was contacted for comment.

Finucane was elected in 2019 UK general election to the constituency of Belfast North. However, in keeping with Sinn Féin’s abstentionist policy, he does not take up his seat.


Featured Image: Sinn Féin @Flickr

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