From Ireland to Palestine: Irish figures, activists rally for Palestine on St Patrick's Day

From Ireland to Palestine: Irish figures, activists rally for Palestine on St Patrick's Day
St Patrick's Day this year was marked by prominent displays of support for Palestine, including from author Sally Rooney.
3 min read
18 March, 2024
Gestures of solidarity with Palestine were prominent in the St Patrick's Day parade in New York City on Sunday (Photo by Selcuk Acar/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Shows of solidarity with Palestine have taken place in Ireland in the lead up to and during St Patrick's Day in Ireland, which was celebrated by Irish communities around the world on Sunday.

On the eve of the holiday, The Irish Times published a powerfully-worded essay by screenwriter and author Sally Rooney, who accused her government of doing too little for Gaza.

"What is taking place in Palestine now is one of the most profound and shocking moral catastrophes of our time," Rooney wrote in the opening paragraph of her piece, which was titled 'Killing in Gaza has been supported by Ireland’s ‘good friend’ in the White House'.

She added: "With no end in sight, the United States continues to pump money and weapons into Israel to prolong the onslaught."

The essay criticised the Irish government, led by Leo Varadkar, for maintaining good relations with the US despite its continued military support for Israel.

"Our Government can bask in the moral glow of condemning the bombers, while preserving a cosy relationship with those supplying the bombs," Rooney wrote, denouncing Varadkar's decision to visit US president Joe Biden the following day.

Rooney's article appeared amid massive shows of solidarity for Palestine across Ireland and the Irish diaspora, for St. Patrick's Day.

Calls for a ceasefire in Gaza were on full display at the St Patrick's Day parade in New York City, where participants displayed banners with Palestinian and Irish flags that read "Occupation is a crime from Ireland to Palestine."

Gaza was also front and centre at St Patrick's Day rallies in Ireland.

Social media users #posted photos and slogans "for a free Palestine" alongside pictures of Irish flags.

Videos shared on social media also showed protesters carrying Palestinian flags and banners and denouncing Israel's war in Gaza at demonstrations across the country.

Ireland is one of the most vocal supporters of Palestine in Europe, and Dublin has repeatedly condemned Israel's indiscriminate war on Gaza, which has killed over 31,000 Palestinians to date - most of them women and children.

The roots behind this widespread political support among Irish communities are historical.

Ireland was never a colonial power in the Middle East and many Irish activists have likened Israel's current occupation of Palestine to Britain's historical occupation of Ireland, which ended in 1922 following a long drawn-out independence struggle.

Rooney is a longtime supporter of the Palestinian cause. In 2021, she rejected a translation offer from an Israeli publishing house in order to support the Boycott, Divest, Sanction (BDS) movement . She previously spoke out numerous times against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and blockade of Gaza.