May 5, 2011
Irish pro-Palestinian group petitions OECD
An Irish activist group has lodged a formal complaint accusing Ireland’s largest company of “complicity” in what it said were violations of international law in Israel.
The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which filed the complaint with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, has asked the OECD to investigate building materials firm CRH for providing cement and equipment for the construction of what it calls the “illegal” separation barrier, settlements and checkpoints.
The complaint alleges that CRH, through its 25 percent stake in Israeli company Mashav, which owns the major cement producer Nesher, is directly contributing to the violation of Palestinian human rights.
In response to the accusations, CRH chairman Kieran McGowan told shareholders at the group’s annual general meeting Wednesday that the company was not in breach of international law.
“CRH is very aware of its responsibilities under international law,” he said. “We continue to act responsibly and in the interests of shareholders.
Israel is a very small investment for us.”
Meanwhile, artist Robert Ballagh, who designed the set for the Irish dancing company Riverdance, will not go on tour to Israel with the company, in observance of a cultural boycott in support of the Palestinians.
Ballagh said in an open letter that he will donate any royalties he receives for the Israel performances to a fund to support an Irish boat that is joining a flotilla attempting to break Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza, the Irish Times reported.