Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Seán Crowe TD, has called for the Irish Government to ramp up its response to Brexit in advance of Article 50 being triggered by the British Government on 29 March.

Crowe was speaking in the Dáil during Post European Council statements when he also raised the case of Ibrahim Halawa and a UN report into Israel’s apartheid policies.

Deputy Crowe said:

“We are now aware of exactly when the British Government plan to trigger Article 50 – 29 March. Against all sense and democratic reason the British Government is persisting with its plan to impose Brexit on Ireland.

“The Taoiseach must act urgently and decisively to stand up for Ireland’s national interests at the European level to secure special designated status for the north within the EU. He must also demand flexibility for Ireland to robustly respond to the negative consequences that Brexit will have on trade between Ireland and Britain.”

Crowe continued:

“Irish citizen Ibrahim Halawa has been detained in Egypt for over 3 and half years without trial. He is being charged as part of a sinister mass trial which has collapsed and been postponed 19 times already. He has no chance of receiving a fair trial and was recently moved to a prison hospital because of his failing health.

“Its time for a very direct intervention from the Irish Government to save the life of its citizen and I called on the Irish Government to explore and examine taking a legal case against Egypt to the International Court of Justice over Ibrahim Halawa’s detention and treatment.”

Crowe finished:

“A new report by the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) launched last week, rightly accuses Israel of being an apartheid state.

“The report is a detailed analysis of Israeli legislation, policies and practices that enable it to operate an apartheid regime. Yet the Irish Government and the EU refuse to face the reality of Israeli apartheid and challenge it.

“The Irish Government needs to sanction Israel for its international and human rights law violations. It should also finally recognise the State of Palestine, in line with the demands of the Dáil and Seanad.”