Categorized | Gaza





Fintan Lane (Dublin/Cork) is the national coordinator of Irish Ship to Gaza and a member of the Free Gaza Movement. He participated in last year’s Freedom Flotilla to Gaza aboard Challenger 1. He is a writer and historian; he has a PhD in History from University College Cork and is the author of several books on Irish history. He comes from the Lough area in Cork city.

Shane Dillon (Dublin) is the skipper of the Saoirse and was first mate on Challenger 1, a vessel in last year’s Freedom Flotilla to Gaza.

John Hearne (Waterford) is a Sinn Fein member of Waterford City Council, and has been a fisherman and construction worker. Having been a former President of the SIPTU Construction Branch, John hopes to create links with trade union and community development workers in Gaza. He plans to meet with fishermen in Gaza. John will be a member of the crew on board the M.V. Saoirse.

Pat Fitzgerald (Waterford) is a Sinn Fein member of Waterford County Council. He represents the Tramore electoral area which covers a large agricultural and rural area, including the fishing village of Dunmore East where he lives. Pat now owns his own light engineering business. He used to be a fisherman and a seaman, and hopes to meet with fishermen in Gaza. Pat is certified in firefighting and first aid. He will be a member of the crew on M.V. Saoirse.

Chris Andrews (Dublin) is a former Fianna Fail TD for Dublin South who has long been an advocate of Palestinian human and political rights. Chris tried to be on last year’s Freedom Flotilla but was not allowed to board by the Cypriot authorities, who themselves had been placed under considerable pressure by Israel to prevent the success of Freedom Flotilla 1.

Paul Murphy (Dublin) is a Socialist Party and United Left Alliance MEP for Dublin, replacing Joe Higgins after the 2011 general election. Paul is an activist for workers, young people and the unemployed. Paul believes that the Freedom Flotilla can bring the world’s attention to what is happening in Gaza and give confidence to the Palestinian people that they have friends and supporters around the world. He hopes to meet with civil society representatives upon arrival in Gaza.

Gerry MacLochlainn (Derry) is a Sinn Fein Councillor in Derry. Active in the Irish Civil Rights campaign, Gerry took part in the Burntollet Civil Rights march which was brutally attacked. Gerry is a former Maths teacher, he studied philosophy and maths at University College Wales, Aberystwyth. He is a former Irish Political Prisoner in England. On his release he headed up the Sinn Fein office in London and was active in the struggle to release of the Guildford 4. In 2009, Gerry led the 2nd convoy into Gaza after the invasion and he co-founded Derry Friends of Palestine. During operation Cast Lead he persuaded Derry City Council to support a boycott of Israeli goods until Israel withdraws from the occupied territories. Derry was the first city in Ireland to pass such a motion. He returned to Gaza again to bring the Mayor of Derry to meet with the Mayor of Khan Younis to begin a twinning process between the two cities. Gerry was a keynote speaker in Geneva at the first International Conference in support of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli Jails, organised by U-Free. He is a member of the International Steering Committee of Freedom Flotilla 2 – Stay Human and a member of the Irish Ship to Gaza national committee.

Hugh Lewis (Dublin) is a People Before Profit councillor on Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council and has a track record of campaigning on social and environmental issues. Hugh Lewis has said that he developed a profound understanding of the plight of the Palestinian people through his membership of the Irish Anti-War Movement. Hugh Lewis also has a degree in documentary photography which he hopes will come in handy when he gets to Gaza.

Felim Egan (Tyrone/Dublin) is an internationally regarded artist and a member of Aosdana. He has exhibited over 54 solo exhibitions. In 1993 he won the prestigious UNESCO prize in Paris, and in 1995 he was awarded the Premiere Prize at Cagnes-sur-Mer. His art, though abstract, is tied to the place in which he lives and works, to the long horizons, big skies and empty sands of the Strand and sea. Felim is looking forward to building links with Palestinian artists. He hopes to meet up with artists in Gaza when the ship reaches its destination.

Rik Walton (Donegal/England) is a professional photographer. Born and raised in the North-East of England, he moved to Ireland in 2009. Rik concentrated on music, theatre and live events for most of his career, but he has also worked in Ghana, Zambia, and Mozambique for the charity Street Child Africa, in Lesotho and South Africa documenting theatre projects about HIV-AIDS and women’s issues, and in Zimbabwe. His work has been exhibited at galleries and art centres in the UK and Ireland and at the British Council in Accra and Kumasi, and has been published in many books, magazines and newspapers. Rik is an active member of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign branch in Donegal.

Trevor Hogan (Tipperary/ Dublin) was a professional rugby player until recently. While at Munster, he won his first Irish cap in 2005 against Japan during the Lions Tour. He has played for Munster, Leinster and Ireland. He holds an honours degree in journalism from Dublin City University. Trevor is bringing sports equipment with him to Gaza and hopes to start a Gaza Rugby club upon arrival.

Mags O’Brien (Dublin) is a trade union official who works in SIPTU College. She is an active member of the Labour Party and played a prominent role in the divorce referendum campaign. She is a member of Trade Union Friends of Palestine.

Gerard Barron (Wexford) is an electrician from New Ross in Country Wexford and a member of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign. He has worked on various anti-racism campaigns such as the Anti-Racism World Cup based in West Belfast. Gerard is particularly disturbed by the apartheid nature of Israel’s policies. Gerard hopes to stay on in Gaza and use his skills as an electrical engineer to help repair damaged power supplies in people’s homes.

Jim Roche (Dublin) was a practicing architect before commencing a full time teaching post at the School of Architecture in the Dublin Institute of Technology. He has been a peace and anti-war activist since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. He is a member of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign and is PRO of the Irish Anti-War Movement. He travelled to the West Bank and Israel in 2007 and 2008 where he saw first-hand the effect of the apartheid policies of the Israeli state on the Palestinian population. He is participating in Freedom Flotilla 2 because he believes that these civil society humanitarian efforts, along with the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) campaign, are now the only way to draw attention to the horrific plight of the Palestinian people, which governments around the world continue to ignore despite the extensive documented evidence of appalling human rights abuses.

Zoe Lawlor (Limerick) teaches at the University of Limerick and has spent time in the West Bank. She first visited Palestine in 2005 and what she saw there moved her to work towards ameliorating their hardship. She says that the hospitality of the Palestinian people, despite their ever worsening conditions, inspires her. Zoe is a member of the national committee of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

John Mallon (Belfast) is a leading member of the Belfast Friends of Palestine and of the Belfast branch of Irish Ship to Gaza. He is father to seven children who he says are his reason for getting out of bed in the morning. John was 15 years old when Bobby Sands died on hungerstrike, it was then he began to see the injustice towards Irish people who were suffering inside and outside of the jails. John carried the wreaths at the funerals of the Hungerstrikers Joe Mc Donnell and Micky Devine. He became involved with Friends of Palestine Belfast after the Mavi Marmara was attacked in May of 2010. John’s biggest wish is to see the illegal blockade lifted so the Palestinian people can live in peace and freedom.

Charlie McMenamin (Derry) is a member of Derry Friends of Palestine and works as a community volunteer in the Gasyard Centre supporting local community and its ongoing development. He also works with tar abhaile, a well-established ex-prisoners group, supporting former prisoners of war. Having successfully won a major case against the British Government in 2007 after being tortured at the age of 16 years, Charlie draws on his experiences as a teenager in helping the peace building processes that are ongoing locally in other parts of the North of Ireland. As part of Charlie’s work, in 2008 he and several work-mates went on a study visit to Israel and Palestine. Having met up with people from both sides, Charlie became convinced that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and the ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people were wrong and unjust. Charlie promised at the time that he would help out those most in need when he returned to Ireland, and now sees his going on the Irish ship to Gaza as part of that promise to help. His goal is to let the world know that there is a dire need for medical intervention in Gaza due to the lack of proper medical supplies.

Philip McCullough (Belfast) is a journalist with the Belfast Media Group. Because of his experience of conflict in Northern Ireland he would like to help the Palestinians obtain some peace in their lives. He believes that an initiative such as Freedom Flotilla 2 is vital to make the world pay attention to the pain of the people of Gaza. He is a member of the Glencree Peace and Reconciliation Organisation and has traveled on a project with the group to South Africa.

Hussein Hamed (Dublin/Libya) is a Libyan and Irish citizen and was an independent candidate in the last general election for Dublin South. His program for election included protecting the rights of senior citizens and the more vulnerable sections of Irish society. He is particularly interested in building relationships among different ethnic groups.

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