10 September 2017
Like all of us, I have been appalled and distressed at the horrific scenes of bombing in Aleppo and other towns and cities across Syria, and disgusted at the brutality towards Syrian civilians displayed both by the Syrian regime of Assad and his Russian allies; and by ISIS/Daesh. As a member of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs, Trade and Defence, I have been to the fore in raising concerns about the war in Syria and calling for a speedier process to welcome refugees to Ireland. I initiated an all-party motion condemning the bombardment of Aleppo which was passed unanimously in the Seanad in November 2016, met with the Russian Ambassador to Ireland to present this motion to him; and have also taken a leading role in the questioning of witnesses on Syria at Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee meetings. Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of meeting with representatives of the courageous White Helmets group who work to save the lives of Syrian civilians under bombardment, and of joining them in a ceremonial tree-planting ceremony at Stephen’s Green, Dublin.