Archive for Ireland
The Foreign Ministry has launched a probe into the posting of a Facebook message by the Israel embassy in Ireland that said if Jesus and Mary were alive today in Bethlehem, they would probably be lynched by local Arabs. Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said, “We all agree that it was improper, inappropriate.” The post included a picture of Jesus and Mary accompanied by a message saying, “A thought for Christmas … If Jesus and Mother Mary were alive today, they would, as Jews without security, probably end up being lynched in Bethlehem by hostile Palestinians. Just a thought …”
A spokesman says Israel’s Foreign Ministry is investigating an anti-Palestinian post on the Facebook page of its embassy in Ireland. The inflammatory post shows an illustration of Jesus and Mary, next to a message the unidentified writer calls “A thought for Christmas.” The message posted Monday read, “If Jesus and mother Mary were alive today, they would, as Jews without security, probably end up being lynched in Bethlehem by hostile Palestinians.” Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor says the post was removed and the embassy apologized immediately after the mission received complaints. Palmor said Tuesday that it wasn’t clear who posted the message. He added, “We all agree that it was improper, inappropriate.”
The official Facebook page of Israel’s embassy to Ireland posted, and then abruptly deleted, a provocative message arguing that “hostile Palestinians” would “lynch” Jesus Christ and his mother, Mary, if they lived in today’s Bethlehem. The town of Jesus’s birth is today part of the Palestinian West Bank. The Facebook message, which begins “A thought for Christmas,” included an image of Jesus and Mary. It was live for about two hours before being deleted. A spokesperson for the embassy told me in an e-mail that “the image and the caption were posted without our consent. It has been removed; in its place now is the following:” “To whom it may concern: An image of Jesus and Mary with a derogatory comment about Palestinians was posted without the consent of the administrator of the Facebook page. We have removed the post in question immediately. Apologies to anyone who may have been offended. Merry Christmas!” The spokesperson did not answer an inquiry to whether there are plans to change how the page is run. This is not the first time that this Facebook page has posted something controversial and on a medium that suggests it’s on behalf of the Israeli government.
The former trade and tourism attache for the Embassy of Lesotho has been awarded more than €40,000 in compensation after claiming she was bullied into quitting her job. A tribunal found that Claire Corcoran was constructively dismissed after she told how she felt there was no option but to resign her €54,000-a-year post. Ms Corcoran, from Baldoyle in north Dublin, said she quit in June 2010 after she was “bullied” by the embassy’s counsellor and first secretary. Ms Corcoran told the tribunal that a year before she resigned, the then-ambassador Mannete Ramaili was under pressure from her government to find a job for the niece of Lesotho’s chief justice, who was living in Ireland. The tribunal ruled that Ms Corcoran acted reasonably by resigning. It awarded Ms Corcoran €40,495.26 in compensation as the most appropriate remedy under the Unfair Dismissals Act.
Outrage over the death of Savita Halappanavar in an Ireland hospital drew India into the controversy, with the government stating that it was awaiting the outcome of the inquiries being carried out by Irish authorities. Savita died after suffering a miscarriage, allegedly because doctors refused to facilitate an abortion for the woman who was in the fourth month of her pregnancy. Abortion is illegal in the Catholic nation. Agency reports say Savita died due to blood poisoning. “We deeply regret the tragic death of Ms Halappanavar; the death of an Indian national in such circumstances is a matter of concern,” said foreign ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin. “Our embassy in Dublin is following the matter closely. We understand that the Irish authorities have initiated two inquiries. We are awaiting the results of the inquiries,” he added. Savita’s husband Praveen Halappanavar , an engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway, told Irish media that his wife asked several times that the pregnancy be terminated , but it was refused because the foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told, “this is a Catholic country” .
The Irish Exporters Association has said that relocating Irish embassy resources from Europe to parts of Africa, Asia and South America would help Irish exports to those regions. The association’s chief executive, John Whelan, said that while the Department of Foreign Affairs is doing a “tremendous” job, more resources are necessary in growing markets where state entry mechanisms are often necessary to support exporters. He said that embassy closures could be the best option if the country cannot get more resources into the fast-growing emerging markets.
Irish security officials say the Israeli Embassy in Dublin has been evacuated because of a suspicious parcel that turned out to be a false alarm. Police erected a modest security cordon around the embassy during Tuesday’s alert but declared it a false alarm two hours later. Army bomb disposal experts inspected the parcel inside the building and say they found nothing dangerous. The Israeli office attracts regular protests by pro-Palestinian activists and also suffers occasional security alerts, but these typically turn out to be false alarms or malicious hoaxes.
A former US Embassy employee has claimed she was raped by an American state official – in an action against the Irish state. PR consultant Ailish Nic Phaidin claims she was raped by a US embassy official in Dublin 36 years ago. Now aged 60 and resident in Florida, Nic Phaidin has brought her case to the High Court in Dublin. The court has heard her claim that she was raped by the official after a party in the basement bar at the embassy, and then forced to resign from her job. The alleged rape took place in the home of the US embassy official. She alleges the incident occurred shortly after she started work in the embassy in 1976. The Irish Independent reports that Nic Phaidin alleges a drug was put in her drink in the embassy basement bar and when she woke up, she was in the home of an embassy official where she claims she was raped. The Donegal born Nic Phaidin has brought an action against the Foreign Affairs Minister and the State in relation to her dismissal or forced resignation from the US embassy, Ballsbridge, in Dublin in 1987. The paper says that Ms Nic Phaidin has claimed she sought assistance from the Department of Foreign Affairs in the settlement of her employment dispute with the embassy. The report also states that she has claimed the department ‘breached its duty of care to her and acted negligently in not conveying an offer in 1996 of €200,000 from the embassy’. Ms Nic Phaidin also claims in her case that she was advised by a department official to initiate legal proceedings in the US against the embassy. These proceedings were later struck out because of lack of jurisdiction. The Department of Foreign Affairs denies all claims. In its defence, the department says that while there were discussions in 1996 on some kind of an offer, no offer was in fact ever made.
Israel’s deputy ambassador to Ireland sent an email to colleagues in the Israeli foreign ministry suggesting it “humiliate and shame” Israeli activists sympathetic to the Palestinians and claiming their activism was rooted in psychological problems. Israel’s Channel 10 News reported that Nurit Tinari Modai, who is cultural officer at the embassy and is married to ambassador Boaz Modai, advised that the foreign ministry should adopt a new strategy in which it would “try to hit [the activists’] soft underbellies, to publish their photographs.” This, she wrote, might “cause embarrassment for their friends in Israel and their family” and sow suspicion among non-Israeli activists that “they may actually be working on behalf of Mossad” (the Israeli intelligence agency). The channel reported that the Israeli foreign ministry was taken aback by the content of the leaked correspondence. It quoted an official statement from the ministry in which it said that while it tries to combat “delegitimisation” of Israel internationally, it does not “engage in witch-hunts”. In a statement, the Israeli embassy acknowledged the authenticity of the email but claimed Ms Tinari Modai’s remarks were in jest. “The incident referred to was not a serious discussion of policy at an official level. It was a private joke, sent by private email, which unfortunately was leaked,” it said. Recently, Ms Tinari Modai used the embassy’s official Facebook account to describe campaigners calling for a boycott of Israel as “Israeli self-haters and anti-Semites”.
President Danilo Türk has signed decrees implementing the closure of four embassies, Foreign Minster Karl Erjavec announced. Foreign Ministry following Austerity Meausers Erjavec explained that the decision to close the embassy in Sweden instead of that in Denmark was based on reciprocity, as Sweden also closed its embassy in Ljubljana. He added that the embassy in Copenhagen would easily cover Slovenia’s diplomatic needs in Scandinavia. The foreign minister stressed that his ministry would strengthen the role of honorary consuls. Erjavec said he and Türk agreed that Slovenia’s strategic policy was “not to close the embassies and save money, but rather to reorganise the diplomatic network”. The ministry however plans to save some EUR 1.8m per year with this measure. While austerity also hit the Foreign Ministry, Erjavec expects to open at least one embassy in this term, most likely in central Africa, where Slovenia has great business interests. The minister would also like to open an embassy somewhere in the Gulf. Apart from the four embassies, the government decided to close two general consulates, reportedly those in Düsseldorf and New York. Slovenians living in New York have however urged the government to abandon its plans to close the consulate in the US metropolis, stressing that the move would cause irreparable economic and cultural damage, and undermine Slovenia’s reputation in the US and the world.