Politics watch: Israeli tensions, local elections

Politics Watch: Israeli Tensions, Local Elections
Here, we have a look at the topics likely to dominate Dáil debate in the week to come. Photo: PA Images
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James Cox

Here, we have a look at the topics likely to dominate Dáil debate in the week to come.

Israeli tensions

Ireland's decision to recognise Palestinian statehood has been a hugely popular move here, and other European countries are set to follow suit after Spain and Norway both took the decision too.


However, it has ramped up tensions with Israel. The country recalled its ambassador to Ireland, Dana Erlich, following the move.

Plenty of opposition TDs had criticised Government for not expelling Ms Erlich before this.

Speaking in Jerusalem on Tuesday, she warned Ireland's plan to recognise a Palestinian state sends the wrong message about Ireland as a tech hub.

She said it could lead to a crisis in bilateral ties as the plan is worrying Israeli investors in the IT services sector here.


Taoiseach Simon Harris said Ms Erlich is trying to distract after an Israeli airstrike in a tent camp in the Gaza city of Rafah.

"I think rather than anybody seeking to distract, I think what should concern the entire world today are the barbaric, horrific scenes that we saw last night in Rafah... where a displaced person centre was attacked.

"Imagine this, a place where parents bring their children for safety and security, a place that is meant to be some degree of refuge and safety at this most horrific time was attacked, was bombed, 45 people are dead."

Ms Erlich's comments are likely to be a topic of Dáil discussion this week.


Local and European elections

The local and European elections are just around the corner and immigration has become the key issue.

The Government is attempting to move beyond an "emergency response" to immigration.

Last week, the Government announced plans to means-test asylum seekers.

Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys is currently looking at means-test plans to be introduced next month, following a recommendation from the Comptroller and Auditor General.


Under the plans, international protection applicants will have their welfare payments cut if they are employed and earning more than €125 a week.

The Government has already reduced the social welfare payments for Ukrainian refugees who arrived after March from the job seekers’ rate of €232 to €38.80 per week.

Last week, it announced Ukrainians who fled to Ireland between 2022 and early 2024 and are living in state-provided accommodation will also have their allowances cut in the next three months.

The changes will not affect Ukrainians living in pledged accommodation and the private rental sector who arrived in Ireland before March this year.


There are worries that far-right candidates could use fears over immigration to make gains in the June 7th elections.

Meanwhile, they are likely to be a big indicator of how the general election will go as Sinn Féin's support continues to slump in the polls.

For more information on the local and European elections, click here.


After British prime minister Rishi Sunak called a surprise July 4th UK general election, campaigning is well underway in Britain.

Mr Sunak's Conservative Party is way behind Labour in the polls, with Keir Starmer's party set for a huge win barring a big surprise.

In the US, all focus is on the November presidential election and Joe Biden and Donald Trump have surprisingly agreed to two debates.


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