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Monday, 25th March 2024

Louth Councillors declare their solidarity with the people of Palestine

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Louth County Councillors have unanimously passed a motion proposed by Drogheda Labour Councillor Emma Cutlip declaring their solidarity with the people of Palestine and all people who rely on the fourth Geneva Convention for protection.

The motion requires Louth County Council to "divest itself of any and all investments, holdings, procurement, or purchasing of goods or services which have originated in whole or in part from occupying powers as defined by the fourth Geneva Convention."

Cllr Cutlip said:  "It is clear to me that the people of Louth feel strongly about the suffering of the Palestinian people. The horrors witnessed every night on the news grow starker and more horrific the longer this assault on human dignity continues. Through this motion, I found a way not merely to declare the councils support the growing movement calling for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), but to actually divest public money locally.

“Louth County Council gathers income from parking charges, business rates, rents, and property taxes, and from government grants. This is public money, and it is the job of councillors to direct this spending in line with the needs of the people of the county.

“It is my hope that I can assist other councillors across the country to propose the same motion and to ultimately divest all local governments in Ireland. Across all local Authorities in Ireland significant amounts of money are spent, public money gathered from central government grants, rents, parking fees, commercial rates, local property taxes and more.

“The people of Louth have made it very clear to me that they do not want to support regimes that profit from occupying territories such as the Palestinian West Bank, and so it is vital that we listen. Louth will proudly stand up against oppression.

The council contended that EU directives which govern public procurement would be breached by the passing of the motion, however Councillor Cutlip contended that this is not the case highlighting European directives, European case law, and government publications directing local government procurement clearly permit criteria placed on public procurement that “Incorporate social considerations”.

Cllr Cutlip said that “Regulation 43 of the 2016 regulations permit a “Social Label” to be applied to tenders that ensure fair and ethical trade. Trading from occupied territories like the west bank has been called out by the International Court of Justice and is clearly capable of being applied to Council tenders under both domestic and European law. While the OGP (Office of Government Procurement) may not easily facilitate the application of this particular social consideration yet, it is not illegal.”

"I am delighted that this motion has passed with unanimous support. We have to do everything in our power to push the needle towards peace.  Each and every person can play a small part through Boycott, Divestment & Sanction (BDS) movement. Each individual person is stronger than even the greatest of nations when we collectively act to push change.

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