Saturday, 5 November 2016

Bank of Ireland’s closure of
Palestine Solidarity accounts

The following letter is published in today’s edition of ‘The Irish Times’

Bank of Ireland’s closure of
Palestine Solidarity accounts


Sir, – We are shocked and appalled by Bank of Ireland’s unilateral closure of the accounts of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC), a volunteer-run group advocating for Palestinian human rights as enshrined in international law, and a legally constituted, fully audited, transparent organisation. Despite the IPSC providing the Bank with all information requested, the Bank proceeded to shut down the IPSC accounts. The Bank has thus far refused to offer any reason for the closure, other than to say that the IPSC — which has banked with BOI for 15 years — no longer meets the Bank’s ‘risk appetite’.

We believe that practical solidarity and civil society activism are essential to the defence of human rights, at home and abroad. The Bank’s action regretfully appears in the context of an aggressive international campaign to silence groups that advocate for Palestinian rights. We concur with our Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan, who said of this case that he “would be disappointed if a civil society organisation in this country, engaging in lawful activities, was unable to function” because of the unwarranted closure of its accounts. That one of Ireland’s largest financial institutions demonstrates such contempt for human rights activism is a matter of great concern to all.

We call upon the Bank of Ireland to immediately re-instate these accounts, and to apologise for undermining the viability of a well-established and widely respected civil society organisation. We will continue to support the work of the IPSC in highlighting injustices and helping to secure freedom, justice and equality for the Palestinian people.

Yours, etc.

MIKE MURPHY,
broadcaster;
Rt Revd AET HARPER OBE, FRGS,
former archbishop,
BRIAN KERR,
former Ireland football manager,
BARRY MURPHY,
comedian,
DERVLA MURPHY,
author,
MICHAEL FARRELL,
solicitor,
BETTY PURCELL,
Irish Human Rights and Equality Commissioner,
ROBERT BALLAGH,
artist,
MARK CUMMING,
Head of Comhlámh,
RUAIRͬ McKIERNAN,
founder of SpunOut, Council of State member,
HONOR HEFFERNAN,
singer and actress,
JIM FITZPATRICK,
artist,
DONAL LUNNY,
musician & producer,
Rev Canon Prof PATRICK COMERFORD,
President, Irish CND,
STEVE WALL,
musician & actor,
TIMMY HAMMERSLEY,
hurler,
SEAMUS DEANE,
author and poet,
MARGARETTA D’ARCY,
author,
RAYMOND DEANE,
composer,
FELIM EGAN,
artist,
DONAL O’KELLY,
actor & writer,
PATRICIA McKEOWN,
UNISON regional secretary,
RONIT LENTIN,
Irish-Israeli academic,
LIAM G KILGALLEN,
former Chair of Irish Anti-Apartheid Movement,
Shaykh Dr MUHAMMAD UMAR AL-QADRI,
CEO of Irish Muslim Peace & Integration Council,
JO BIRD,
Chair of Jewish Voice for a Just Peace Ireland

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