June 22, 2013. Dublin. Witnesses were stunned after a member of Ireland’s Parliament emotionally condemned President Obama’s character and actions this week. She called him a war criminal, hypocrite of the century, and criticized him for murdering thousands with his drones, including hundreds of children. She even had some choice words for the first family and the mesmerized Irish media. Watch the video and read the transcript here.
Clare Daly (Dublin North), on the floor of Ireland's Parliament, calling President Obama a "war criminal" and "hypocrite of the century".
Former President George W. Bush has been officially declared a war criminal by a number of countries and international organizations. Now, he has company in the form of President Obama. At least that’s the position expressed by an impassioned and outspoken member of Ireland’s Parliament three days ago.
Irish member of Parliament Clare Daly is an independent-leaning socialist and a passionate and vocal advocate for Ireland’s downtrodden. Until this week, her most recent crusade has been protecting her country’s most vulnerable from being left to fend for themselves due to cost-cutting austerity measures. But when President Obama and his hundreds-strong entourage arrived in Ireland for the G8 Summit, Daly set her sites on the US President and all but publicly crucified him over his administration’s policies of expanded war and daily assassinations.
Today a member of the United Left Alliance, Clare Daly is an experienced, 14-year politician who spent her first 12 years of public service as a local county-level elected official and member of the Socialist Party. She was elected to Ireland’s Parliament, representing Dublin North, in 2011. Daly first received notoriety while protesting against a water tax on the people in the mid-1990’s. In 2003, she was arrested and imprisoned for one month for protesting after an Irish court bared protests over certain government tax policies.
Clare Daly condemns Obama on floor of Parliament
Describing Clare Daly’s five-minute lecture, and the Irish Prime Minister’s disgusted reply, doesn’t do the exchange justice. Below is the video of Clare Daly’s speech before Parliament Thursday, as well as a transcript of the debate.
Clare Daly addressing Ireland's Parliament, calling President Obama a liar, a hypocrite and a war criminal.
Clare Daly’s remarks before Ireland’s Parliament:
Clare Daly: I think it’s important to take this opportunity to bring a bit of balance into the discussions around the visit of the US President and his wife given the almost unprecedented slobbering over them that the nation has been exposed to over the last number of days. And it’s really hard to know which is worse, whether it’s the outpouring of the Obamas themselves, or the sychophantic fawning over them by sections of the media and the political establishment.
We’ve had separate and special news bulletins by the state broadcaster to tell us what Michelle Obama and her daughters had for lunch in Dublin, but very little questioning of the fact that she was having lunch with Mr. Tax Exile himself [Bono from the band U2]. We’ve had very little challenging of the fact that she’s glad to be home, home a country that she’s been in less than a week and her husband has very tenuous links in.
And of course the biggest irony of all, the protestations of Obama himself in his speech to children in Northern Ireland about peace, when he said, “Those who choose a path of peace, I promise you the United States of America will support you every step of the way. We will be the wind at your back.” Now I ask you, is this person going for the hypocrite of the century award? Because we have to call things by their right names. And the reality is, by any serious examination, this man is a war criminal.
He has just announced his decision to supply arms to the Syrian opposition, including the jihadists fueling the destabilization of that region and continuing to undermine secularism and knock back conditions for women. This is the man who is in essence, stalling the Geneva peace talks by trying to broker enhanced leverage for the Syrian opposition by giving them arms. And to hell with the thousands more who lose their lives, or the tens of thousands more who are being displaced as this war goes on.
This is the man who has facilitated a two hundred percent increase in the use of drones, which have killed thousands of people including hundreds of children. And you Taoiseach [Irish Prime Minister], you are the one who’s turned a blind eye on these activities. You’ve talked about the G8 being an opportunity to showcase Ireland. But is it not a reality that you have showcased us as a nation of pimps, prostituting ourselves in return for a pat on the head?
[Parliament erupts in offended grumbles and inaudible words by a number of other members off-camera]
Clare Daly: To be honest with you, we were really speculating this morning whether you were going to take the Cabinet out in leprechaun hats decorated with stars and stripes to really mark the abject humiliation here. So my question to you Taoiseach is as follows, what steps are you going to take to follow in the correct statements and the correct decision of your colleague Tánaiste [Deputy Prime Minister] Eamon Gilmore who voted against the lifting of the arms embargo in relation to Syria?
What steps are you going to take to insure that no weapons for Syria are going to go through Shannon in breach of our international laws and neutrality? What steps are you going to take to showcase this country, not as a lap dog of US imperialism, but as an independent nation with an independent foreign policy, which takes a lead in international diplomacy, to outlaw the use of drones, the favorite method of extermination of your friend Mr. Obama?
[Unnamed voices attempt to speak simultaneously before Parliament is called to order a few seconds later]
Prime Minister Enda Kenny: Well, let me [inaudible] for you first of all that the President was not inquiring about your whereabouts or your well being. I think your comments are disgraceful. I think they do down the pride of Irish people all over the world who are more than happy to see this Ireland be a host to the G8, the leaders of the most industrialized nations in the world.
And for you Deputy Daly, to stand up here and criticize the American President for giving a continuation of support for a fragile peace process in Northern Ireland, where over three thousand people have lost their lives over forty years, is a disgraceful do-down. And if you represent those people on the back, if that’s the kind of comment you intend to make, well then it’s beneath you actually. Even those of your predecessors, in their brilliance, never matched what you’ve just said here.
Let me remind you that the communities in Northern Ireland, and the politicians from administrations in this House here, of all governments, together with British governments, and Northern Ireland politicians, and Northern Ireland communities, have put together a very fragile peace. And far be it from you to come in here and criticize somebody who wants to support that process, visibly, personally, and with assistance from the United States where 35 million Irish Americans, Deputy Daly, want this peace process to continue.
And the young lady, the young student who introduced the President in Belfast, put a finger on it very well when she said, “The reality is that Northern Ireland has had a past. And the reality is that Northern Ireland has a future.” And that future, Deputy Daly, is one where peace in communities and across communities should abound. And it’s beneath you to say that the American President should not be a party to keeping that process alive and visible.
In so far as the discussion on Syria is concerned, there was a serious discussion at the G8 Summit with the members of the G8 themselves. I’m not sure whether you favor the Russian intervention here, whether you favor what the European Union put forward. While there was division among the countries in Europe about the lifting of the arms embargo, Ireland took a very clear position on this, which was articulated by the Tánaiste, that the embargo should not be lifted, with the conclusion of the G8 Summit, was that the Geneva peace talks should take place.
Nobody wants to see wanton slaughter and the exodus of hundreds of thousands of people from Syria. And far from a war mongering discussion, the situation here is, what can you do to bring about discussions and negotiations that will restore, in the first instance, peace to the situation. And in the second instance, a structure that will allow Syria to continue in the time ahead without the obscenities and the humanitarian crisis that we’ve witnessed in the last two years.
Clare Daly: Of course I said nothing about the Northern Ireland peace process, a process which everybody supports, but is not one that gives you a license to do whatever you like anywhere else around the globe. There isn’t much peace in Iraq where 26 people lost their lives yesterday. There isn’t much peace in Afghanistan. There isn’t much peace in Pakistan. And there certainly isn’t much peace in Syria.
And the side I’m on in Syria is the one, what I agree with is the statement by Oxfam [Irish human rights group], where Oxfam said, ‘Sending arms to the Syrian opposition won’t create a level playing field. Instead, it further risks fueling an arms free-for-all, where the victims are the civilians of Syria. Our experience tells us that the crisis will only drag on far longer if arms are poured in.’
And that’s in essence what the Americans have done here. I can only take from your non-answer to the question you were asked is that you’re going to take no steps to insure that those arms will not be sent through Shannon in breech of our neutrality.
You said here last week, no arms ever came through Shannon. How do you know that seeing as no investigations take place? The reality is, in 2012, 548 US planes landed in Shannon. How do you know what was on them if you haven’t examined them? Your Minister for Transport reveals in a Parliamentary question that 239 civilian planes landed in Shannon, where they sought permission because they were carrying munitions of war or dangerous goods on a civilian aircraft. What steps are you going to take to intervene in this situation?
And the last point I’ll make is that people in this country are very fond of our American brothers and sisters. And I think we stand far more shoulder-to-shoulder with them by making valid criticisms of their President, who has broken his election promises, rather than just pimping this nation as a tax haven for their corporations. I’m sure the Americans would far prefer that their multi-nationals pay their taxes at home rather than offshore here so they can develop their healthcare, so they wouldn’t be wasting money on arms being sent to slaughter people in other countries.
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny used his final minute of time to defend Ireland’s mutual business ties with the US, as well as accuse Clare Daly of being hypocritical regarding her lack of outrage concerning other atrocities around the world. In closing, he expressed hope for peace in Syria and a successful meeting during the future Geneva peace talks.
It’s probably too soon to tell, but as the video of Clare Daly’s speech before the Irish Parliament goes viral, it appears that her status as a spokesperson for the 99% has rocketed from the County level, to the national level, to the global level. The Irish firebrand has gone from a local politician two years ago, to taking on the most powerful man in the world today. With that kind of track record, we might just be hearing from her again.
For more information on Clare Daly, visit her website at ClareDaly.ie
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